Norway gives NOK 40 million to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine

'The conflict in eastern Ukraine is affecting almost as many people as the entire population of Norway. There is an acute need for protection, shelter, medical assistance, food and water. Norway is increasing its support, and it is important that other countries also do their part,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende, who is meeting internally displaced people in eastern Ukraine today.

Five million people in eastern Ukraine are in need of humanitarian assistance. Around 1.2 million have been registered as internally displaced, and more than 800 000 have fled to neighbouring countries. More than 6 200 civilians have been killed and 15 500 wounded since the conflict started, according to the UN. The Minister is in Kharkiv today, where he will meet representatives of the authorities, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Norwegian Refugee Council, amongst others.

'In particular, there are many elderly people who have had to leave their homes and have little access to health services and other assistance. The people with disabilities are another very vulnerable group. Many schools have been destroyed, routes children take to school have been mined, and many children are missing out on vital schooling. The funding from Norway will help to meet basic needs such as shelter, food, water and medicines, as well as protecting civilians and providing schooling for children affected by the crisis,' said Mr Brende.

The security situation has resulted in closed roads and restricted access to many of those in need of humanitarian assistance. Mr Brende underscored how important it is that international donors and NGOs coordinate their efforts with the Ukrainian authorities, and that the authorities help to ensure that help reaches those in need, particularly the most vulnerable groups.

Norway provided NOK 33 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine last year. The funding for 2015 will be channelled through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), UNHCR, Save the Children, and the Norwegian Refugee Council and its standby roster Norcap. Special priority is being given to humanitarian protection of civilians and schooling for children affected by the crisis.

So far, the UN has received only 20 % of the USD 316 million needed for the 2015 Ukraine Humanitarian Response Plan.