War in Ukraine: The humanitarian situation continues to worsen

According to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), the problem is not so much the availability of food but access to food, whether physical or economic.

“Food is one of the three main concerns of the people, after security and fuel for transportation,” Jakob Kern, WFP’s emergency coordinator in Ukraine, told a news conference in Lviv.

In the city of Mariupol alone, there are more than 100,000 people who have been unable to leave for weeks and have a great need for food, water and other basic supplies.

About 6 million people need and will need food and financial assistance in this country.

“Last week I was in Kyiv and Bucha. I saw a community trying to unite through things. Some people have lost everything from livelihoods to family members,” Kern added.

The UN reiterates the urgency of establishing humanitarian corridors in Ukraine

In the face of this humanitarian emergency, the UN agency is stepping up its response. Thus, WFP mobilized more than 60,000 tons of food for its intervention in Ukraine, enough to feed 2 million people for two months.

Despite a volatile security situation, WFP delivered 113 tonnes of food to vulnerable families in the besieged cities of Kharkiv, Sumy and Severodonetsk through four UN interagency humanitarian convoys. That’s enough to feed 20,000 people for ten days.

The majority of those affected -1.4 million out of a total of 1.7 million- are families trapped in encircled or partially encircled areas of the country. “But many of the most vulnerable remain out of our reach behind the lines of conflict,” Kern said.

Ukraine is the world’s fifth largest exporter of wheat and among the top three for corn, barley and sunflower seeds. “Before the conflict, Ukraine fed the world, today it needs help to feed itself,” the WFP’s emergency coordinator in Ukraine argued.

One third of agricultural land will not be cultivated in 2022

Agriculture is at the heart of the Ukrainian economy, playing a key role in protecting food security and livelihoods throughout the country as well as in the region. The great destruction of crops and infrastructure due to the war endangers food production and food security.

The FAO estimates that one-third of crops and agricultural land will not be harvested or grown by 2022. 20% of planted area will not be harvested in July and the spring planting area is expected to be around one-third lower than normal.

The forced displacement of civilians fleeing the war and the recruitment of men to the territorial defense forces lead to a shortage of labor and an increase in the burden on women. This situation is exacerbated by declining access and the availability of crucial agricultural inputs.

© PMA / Marco Frattini

WFP food supplies delivered to Bucha, Ukraine

The call of the Ukrainian authorities: “Help us to help the world”

According to WFP, the main concern of the Ukrainian authorities is the lack of storage capacity to carry the 2022 grain harvest.

The UN agency estimates that 15 million tonnes of grain will not take place in the country’s silos. “If Ukraine can not export its current stock, farmers may not be able to harvest at cost, let alone plant next year’s crop,” Kern said, noting that the lack of Ukrainian grain in the market influences food prices worldwide.

Meanwhile, WFP is spending an additional $ 70 million a month buying the same amount of food as last year. “70 million that would otherwise allow us to feed 4 million women, children and men for a month. As one of the government officials told us last week in Kyiv, “Help us to help the world,” Kern concluded.

Medical supplies are delivered to a hospital in Zapporijjia, Ukraine.

© UNICEF / Kate Klochko

Medical supplies are delivered to a hospital in Zapporijjia, Ukraine.

Attacks on health services

For its part, the World Health Organization (WHO) has condemned the increase in attacks on health workers and those who distribute supplies. So far, the WHO has verified 147 attacks, including 73 dead and 53 wounded.

“War will not be a solution. Once again, I call on Russia to end the war,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a tweet.

Already last week, the head of the WHO once again urged Moscow to return to the negotiating table and work for peace, “for the good of humanity.”

“In the meantime, humanitarian corridors need to be set up so that medical supplies, food and water can be delivered and civilians can be safe,” Dr Tedros said.

According to the WHO, Ukraine’s health care system has been severely disrupted, with some 300 health centers located in areas affected by hostilities and 1,000 health centers in modified control areas.

A woman is in an abandoned school, damaged after a bombing, in Krasnohorivka, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine.  (files)

© UNICEF / Ashley Gilbertson

A woman is in an abandoned school, damaged after a bombing, in Krasnohorivka, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. (files)

Nearly 976 schools were damaged and 95 schools were destroyed

On the ground, although hostilities continue to be concentrated in eastern and southern Ukraine, several landslides in the country have been hit by missile attacks, which are said to have caused numerous civilian casualties and damaged civilian infrastructure. .

With the escalation of violence, about 976 schools were damaged and 95 schools were destroyed in the country, according to a count established on April 18, 2022 by the Ministry of Education of Ukraine. “Humanitarian Agency Education Cluster reports that schools are being used for purposes other than education,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in its latest status report .

According to OCHA, this will cause delays in the reopening of schools for any blended or face-to-face learning activity. It was also reported that at least three schools were used by the military, “turning schools into military targets, endangering the lives of children and educational staff.”

This puts the educational infrastructure and teaching materials at risk of being damaged and destroyed.

Serious human rights violations, including cases of torture, were committed

In addition, at the opening of its seventy-third session on Tuesday in Geneva, the Committee against Torture noted that the session began in circumstances marked by the ongoing war in Ukraine, a war that calls into question “multilateralism and the very essence of the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations ”.

“Unfortunately, the Security Council has been powerless to maintain international peace and security, while the General Assembly has suspended a member of the Human Rights Council for the second time in the history of the Council,” said Claude Heller. , Chairman of the Committee.

According to the UN-based independent body in Geneva, investigations into serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law have been carried out, including cases of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. “These investigations will establish responsibilities for the purpose of holding the perpetrators accountable,” Heller said.

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