Winter in Ukraine. Thousands of children need immediate help.
According to the United Nations Organisation, more than two million Ukrainians are residing within territories beyond the control of Kiev authorities; and they need help. A report by The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently warned that hundreds of children might freeze to death this winter. There is growing concern whether the international organisations that provide humanitarian assistance will have access to the eastern regions of the country. The UN stated that the lives of more than 2,700 Ukrainian children are in danger this coming cold season. Deaths from hypothermia are the most serious threat due to the local heating systems being seriously damaged. Much of the infrastructure in the east was destroyed by military actions in the area.
Photographs taken by Katya Voronina from Donetsk, show children who are without the basic necessities. These pictures, taken in eastern Ukraine where humanitarian assistance is needed, were the catalyst for a charity concert in the American capital city of Washington.
Organisers indicated that the scale of the charity concert isn’t large, but all money raised will be spent to help those most in need. “Many of these are children without families who have been living in the residential school. There were originally 200 near Odessa and now that number has increased to 500. I mean they are orphans.” said Nina Borisova.
UNICEF warns that thousands of families with children were forced to migrate within the country and are residing in the territories outside of the control of Ukrainian authorities. They need immediate help. They need household cleansers, warm blankets, winter clothing and shoes. In the winter, it is impossible to live in the houses without doors, windows, roofs and heating. Many children who have witnessed military actions are still awaiting psychological services.
Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF’s president stated that they have gained access to some of the areas outside of the Ukrainian authorities’ control, but negotiations continue. She stressed that their task is to gain access to the whole eastern Ukrainian region to be able to work with families and to prepare them for winter.
UNO’s representative on refugees in Russia, Galina Negrustueva, denied that all temporary accommodation centres in Russia for refugees from Ukraine have been closed. “It’s hard to imagine that Ukrainian refugees were kicked out of the temporary accommodation centres. Moreover, last year, Russian authorities designed a lot of benefits for them and started to place them in these centres. Apparently, this support will be continued in 2016. Only about 10% of refugees live in former sanatoriums, orphanages, resorts, etc. The rest of them rent houses or live with relatives. Many people want to live independently and find a job.” said Galina.
Representatives of the Russian and Ukrainian Diaspora stressed the importance of finding ways to help those affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The well-known singer, Olga Chernysheva echoed the difficulties felt by all as a result of this conflict. She said that most events connected with Ukraine and Russia is painful for everyone. “I don’t know who is right and who is wrong. When there is a conflict, when somebody suffers, when there is war, when somebody is dying, nobody is right. All are right when there is peace. All we can do is to help, if I can sing I have to sing.” she said.