Preparing for Winterization Amidst Escalating Attacks
The ongoing attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine have led to a surge in humanitarian needs, according to Denise Brown, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine.
Speaking remotely at a press briefing at the UN Headquarters in New York on Monday, she urged for increased funding to ensure assistance for those in need, particularly as the approaching winter poses additional challenges.
Winterization Efforts and Damage Assessment
As the summer nears its end, concerns grow over the approaching cold in Ukraine. Humanitarians are already preparing for winterization, which includes the distribution of quilts, fuels, stoves, and thermal insulation to houses damaged during the previous winter.
However, Ms. Brown highlights that there is additional damage on top of what they had to deal with since then, pointing to the destruction of the Kakhovka dam and attacks on major cities.
Attacks on Civilian Infrastructure in Odesa
Ms. Brown shared her firsthand experience of the situation in Odesa, a crucial hub for the UN and the humanitarian community.
The city serves as a staging area for relief supplies to reach locations in need. However, last week, several locations in Odesa were hit by aerial strikes, including the centuries-old Transfiguration Cathedral, listed under UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
The cathedral, serving as a shelter during air-raid sirens, suffered severe damage in an attack, raising concerns about the targeting of civilian infrastructure.
Civilians Suffering in Mykolaiv
Ms. Brown also pointed out the damage to civilian homes and apartments in Mykolaiv, where some structures are so badly damaged that they require complete demolition.
This pattern of destruction is occurring across numerous major cities in Ukraine, leading to tragic consequences for civilians caught in the violence.
Humanitarian Response Plan Faces Funding Gap
The UN launched a $3.9 billion Humanitarian Response Plan for 2023 earlier this year, aiming to provide assistance to 11.1 million people.
However, by the end of July, donors had raised only about 30 percent of the intended total. The ongoing conflict and the “totally unexpected” destruction of the Kakhovka dam have led to rising humanitarian needs, underscoring the urgent need for increased funding and support.
The Call for Peace
As the humanitarian situation remains dire and the war intensifies, Ms. Brown stressed that stopping the war is the only way to address these escalating needs.
The ongoing violence continues to inflict a devastating toll on civilian lives, demanding immediate and sustained efforts to end the conflict and ensure the safety and well-being of those affected.