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UN: humanitarian situation in Donbas aggravated by Kiev’s restrictions

March 17, 2015, 10:17 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
The OCHA said the travel restrictions introduced by Kiev "have contributed to serious delays in the delivery of humanitarian aid, including medicines and medical equipment
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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

UNITED NATIONS, March 17. /TASS/. The humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine continues worsening particularly due to Kiev’s restrictions on the movement of people and goods, and the suspension of social benefits payments, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its report published late on Monday.

"The humanitarian situation continues worsening in eastern Ukraine, particularly in NGCAs (non-government controlled areas), where access to benefits and (state) services has been cut off since December 2014. This has drastically worsened the plight of people living there, seriously affecting access to basic services and food. This has been further aggravated by restrictions placed on the movement of people and goods," the report reads.

The OCHA said the travel restrictions introduced by Kiev "have contributed to serious delays in the delivery of humanitarian aid, including medicines and medical equipment, to civilians in NGCAs of eastern Ukraine."

These measures have also seriously impeded access to health care for citizens of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics "who need to use state-funded medical services available only in government-controlled areas."

On March 12-14, a 15-member delegation from the UN humanitarian agencies travelled to Ukraine and met with Vice Prime Minister Genadiy Zubko. The delegation focused on the abolition of duties for humanitarian aid and discussed the situation over the non-payment of pensions in Donbas as well as the need to lift restrictions on the movement of people and goods.

The delegation also focused on the "impact on civilians of the interruption of basic services and the banking system in these areas stressing the Government’s role as duty bearer towards all its citizens."

According to the UN, on March 7-13 the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine largely held though there were "isolated incidents of small arms and mortar exchanges, and fresh casualties were reported."

Since the beginning of the conflict in mid-April, at least 5,943 people have been officially confirmed as killed and more than 15,300 as wounded in the conflict areas. Full accounts on casualties, especially near Donetsk airport and in the Debaltsevo area are still pending.

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