Humanitarian situation in Donbas worsens over COVID-19 pandemic – ICRC
The humanitarian situation in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, has worsened over the COVID-19 pandemic, making the life of civilians living in the conflict zone even more difficult, that is according to a survey conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions from May 12 to June 3.
"A mere 12% of members of households surveyed said their savings would last longer than a month, which is a sign of the unstable financial situation for most of the population. But the alarming thing is that 43% of households said their resources would last for one week at most without outside help," the report said.
Some 75% of respondents note food price hikes amid COVID-19; another 47% indicate rising prices of non-grocery goods; and 35% of respondents said that the COVID-19 pandemic had affected their income.
Moreover, 47% of households surveyed said they had difficulty accessing shops and markets due to quarantine measures.
"The results of the survey show that many families are facing financial difficulties and at the same time have difficulty accessing food markets over COVID-19 and the conflict in general. This means that the ICRC's family funding programs are not effective enough. We need to increase again the distribution of food and hygiene kits," Florence Gillette, the ICRC's head of delegation in Ukraine, said.
The ICRC press service says that since the COVID-19 outbreak, the committee has distributed more than 45,000 food and hygiene kits in 136 settlements on both sides of the contact line. It also supported 56 medical institutions in the Donbas conflict zone by providing medicines, protective gear, and setting up temporary points for coronavirus screening of patients admitted to the Novoaidar regional hospital.
The ICRC survey was conducted from May 12 to June 3 in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. A total of 252 households were interviewed. The average household size was 2.48 persons per household. The average age of household members was 54 years.