According to the UN, 4.4 million people continue to be affected by the war in Donbas, of whom 3.4 million require humanitarian assistance and protection.
At the same time, residents of the Donetsk region and Luhansk region suffer not only from fighting, but also from a lack of food and fuel, and their situation has become worse during the current winter months, the Norwegian Refugee Council reports.
According to the organization, Out of ten the worldˈs most neglected displacement crises, Ukraine is the only one which experiences a winter season, temperatures can drop to minus 20 in Donbas in winter.
“600,000 people living within five kilometres on both sides of the frontline, - the Norwegian Refugee Council reports. -The worsening socio-economic situation has doubled food insecurity, with some 1.2 million people now reported to be food insecure. Many lack adequate food to meet their basic needs at the height of winter, while scarce resources must often be used to pay for the high cost of utilities in order to stay warm”.
Many of the villages located on the frontline have no gas supply so these residents have to buy expensive solid fuels to survive sub-zero temperatures.
“One ton of coal costs four times more than my monthly pension, - said a resident of Druzhba village, six kilometres from the frontline. - For the winter, I need three tons of coal. I cannot afford it. We canˈt even go to the forest to gather wood because of mines”.
According to the NRC, many residents of the frontline zone manage to survive only through humanitarian assistance from international organizations.
During the winter of 2017/2018, NRC will provide an estimated 24,000 conflict-affected people thanks to the generous support of Norway, the UN World Food Programme and the Vaticanˈs “Pope for Ukraine” Initiative.