US officials: Russia’s escalation in Ukraine could trigger a humanitarian crisis

“You saw half a million people moving in one week … which is really unusual speed. It should be a manageable situation, but it is also very liquid now, ”said a senior USAID official. “It really’s going to be about access, security and resources. “If health centers are bombed, as we have seen in Syria, it will make it much more difficult to provide health services.”

The UN plans to launch massive funding applications as early as Tuesday to increase humanitarian aid to 100,000 IDPs in Ukraine and 520,000 fleeing the country. In recent days, the United States has approved an additional $ 54 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, but lawmakers at the Capitol have said that is not enough and are now considering additional $ 2.9 billion in funding.

“I think we see a developed humanitarian crisis. Half a million Ukrainians have already fled the country. “If Putin launches even more brutal attacks, such as the use of cluster munitions, I think that number will increase.” Chris Coons
(D-Del). “I think it makes sense for us to take it now in anticipation of what might be important in Poland and Moldova, in Bulgaria, in the Baltics.

A White House budget official said $ 2.9 billion could be raised as needs develop and the Biden administration works with allies to “assess needs on the ground.”

“We are seeing a large number of internally displaced persons inside Ukraine and a growing … number of people crossing international borders outside Ukraine,” said Chris Boyan, UNHCR spokesman. “This is a massive initiative and requires immediate and immediate and comprehensive response. Urgent financial support is needed from the international community. “

The State Department said in a statement that it was “closely coordinating” with international partners to meet the humanitarian needs of Ukraine. “We emphasize that access to health care facilities must be secure and sustainable with the necessary medicines, supplies and services,” said a department spokesman. “We call on all parties to allow immediate, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for humanitarian agencies and other humanitarian actors to continue their vital work in Ukraine.

The situation is dire around

While the number of people who have recently fled Ukraine is worrying officials and humanitarian organizations, the situation with the remaining people is equally dire, Boyan said.

For example, several members of the Ukrainian parliament Russian troops occupied the maternity ward In Wortsel last week.

“Women and their newborns were forced to take to the streets, their lives and health were in danger,” said Oleksandra Ustinova, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, who added that Russian soldiers had also bombed the Adonis maternity hospital near Kiev on Monday. “The Russian army is targeting not only civilian homes, but also hospitals, kindergartens and orphanages.

The hospital’s support team confirmed this to POLITICO Collided with the building.

“The shell hit the maternity ward, the damage is minimal and the building is standing,” the team said in a letter. “Everyone has been evacuated and now they are safe.

Ustinova said health personnel had to shelter infants from Russian attacks. “Three days ago in Dnipro, about a dozen newborns were taken from the neonatal ward to an improvised bomb shelter, a storage room in the basement of a hospital,” he said.

Meanwhile, scenes on the Polish border – women and children walking up to 20 miles and gathering for days waiting to cross the border – are pushing US officials and international aid organizations to find new ways to support the Polish government and other neighboring countries. Refugee processing.

UNHCR has already provided bedding and sleeping mats to 10,000 people in Moldova. USAID, which has a Disaster response team on site, Ukraine was provided with high thermal blankets for 23,000 IDPs, as well as 640 satellite telephones to maintain communications. And the WHO warns that the supply of medical oxygen in Ukraine is running out and may run out in the next two days.

Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, told the UN Security Council on Monday that the organization had already received more than $ 40 million to help refugees fleeing Ukraine in the past few days. But that will not be enough to help the possibly millions of people who are leaving the country in the coming days, he said. “I hope governments will do the same – and faster,” he said.

Concerns have been raised since Samantha Power, USAID Administrator, met with colleagues in Ukraine and other European countries, including Krakow, to discuss how to increase aid. Fower visited the Polish border to observe people coming from Ukraine.

In an interview with CNN on Monday, Power said the Polish government was responding promptly to the influx of refugees, but it would likely take several more days to clear the line of people waiting at the border.

“Most of the reserves are on the Ukrainian side, because those numbers are what no one inside Ukraine really thought,” he said. “It was very difficult for people to believe that their Russian neighbor would treat them that way.”

Power also said the Global Relief Society is planning emergency situations with the potential for five million people to leave the country in the coming weeks.

For the estimated 100,000 people displaced by the conflict inside Ukraine, global health organizations are working to get more supplies within the country, especially for still operating hospitals.

“Indiscriminate bombings”

In cities where fighting has been raging for days, trucks cannot find a safe way to transport medical supplies to hospitals that lack oxygen and the necessary equipment. The World Health Organization has called for the creation of a safe corridor through Poland to Ukraine, which would allow it and other aid organizations to move aid more easily.

“I do not even want to think about hospitals. “Fortunately, we have electricity, despite the fact that Russia is actively trying to bomb our power plants,” said Igor Novikov, a former adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky from Kiev. “For people who have Covid and bad conditions in the hospital, it must be horrible, because anywhere inside, a death warrant can be issued. And it will not be a bomb. It’s just a slow death knowing that there is no help. “

Novikov said Kiev had experienced “constant” and “indiscriminate bombing” that prevented people from accessing essential items, including food.

“Older people who are stuck alone in the house – volunteers try to help as much as possible,” he said. “If you can not get up or go to a store that is too far away because all the shops on your side are closed, you are not doomed, but you are in bad shape.”

Galina Maistruk, a gynecologist-oncologist and head of an NGO called Women’s Health and Family Planning, said she has traveled from Kiev to western Ukraine and is counting down the days before returning home.

“I worked all my life [the] “The quality of life of the people,” he said. “What is happening now is my heart, which has absolutely begun. And now I’m trying to make it whole. “

His wife, an obstetrician-gynecologist, remains in Kyiv. Some doctors were in the hospital for five days – they could not go home because of the bombing, he said. The war is hurting the workforce that is already exhausted by the current corovirus pandemic.

But it is not just endurance that risks decline. Maistruk described the need for blood products, an emergency cesarean section kit, a birth kit, and medications for heavy bleeding during childbirth.

Providing humanitarian assistance during the conflict is a challenge even for organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, which has 600 staff on site over the past eight years, mostly in the east of the country.

On Friday, the ICRC supplied 15,000 to 16,000 liters of drinking water in Olenivka, northeast of Kiev. This requires planning to ensure it is done safely, said Florian Seriex, ICRC spokeswoman.

“We had guarantees from the government. “We knew we could go safely with our trucks, our cars, our teams,” Serix said. “These guarantees are paramount.”

At the same time, the Ukrainian government has asked for help from the UN World Food Program.

“Food and drinking water shortages have been reported in the pockets of the capital Kiev and Kharkiv, two cities currently experiencing ongoing conflict,” the WFP said in a statement on Monday. WFP staff in Kyiv say the shelves of the grocery store are almost empty.

Alice Miranda Olstein and Jennifer Scholtez participated in this report.

US officials: Russia’s escalation in Ukraine could trigger a humanitarian crisis

Source link US officials: Russia’s escalation in Ukraine could trigger a humanitarian crisis

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