Ukraine: As Needs Grow, Declining Funding Threatens Availability of Lifesaving Assistance

May 22, 2024 10:30 AM ET
The city of Dnipro, Ukraine has been largely affected by the ongoing conflict. // Photo by Arthur De Poortere
The city of Dnipro, Ukraine has been largely affected by the ongoing conflict. // Photo by Arthur De Poortere

May 22, 2024 /3BL/ - As attacks on civilians and essential infrastructure have intensified in the Kharkiv region of eastern Ukraine, humanitarian needs are growing quickly. However, a drop in funding is an imminent threat to Action Against Hunger and other humanitarian organizations who are trying to respond to the emergency.

Since the large-scale Russian offensive began on May 10 in the Kharkiv region, more than 6,000 people have been forced to evacuate, most of them to Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, which for months has been under attack from missiles, glide bombs and drones. Most of the displaced people in the areas closest to the Russian border are women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities.

To support people affected by this latest Russian offensive, Action Against Hunger and its local partners are implementing an emergency humanitarian campaign in the Kharkiv and Soumy regions, including the distribution of hygiene kits, food vouchers, financial aid. The organization is also supporting primary health centers and psychological and psychosocial support sessions in temporary accommodation centers.

“Action Against Hunger teams are closely monitoring the situation in order to provide humanitarian assistance as close as possible to the needs of the population. Should the conflict intensify and Russian forces gain more territory, more people could be displaced and needs could increase significantly,” said Eric Fort, Director of Action Against Hunger in Ukraine.

Since March 2022, Action Against Hunger has been supporting displaced populations affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine, in an increasingly dangerous security context. Located some thirty kilometers from the Russian border, the Kharkiv region is subject to incessant and indiscriminate attacks, which exhaust the population’s coping strategies and jeopardize economic recovery.

After more than two years of conflict, the Ukrainian population is facing increased levels of poverty and aid dependency. 65% of Ukrainian households have seen their incomes fall, and almost 44% are struggling to meet their basic needs, despite receiving government aid of up to 3,000 hryvnias (around USD $80 per month). In all, 40% of Ukraine’s population is in need of humanitarian assistance.

The wave of solidarity that followed February 24, 2022 is showing signs of weakening as the conflict drags on and other crises change the direction of international aid. According to the United Nations, $3.1 billion is required for humanitarian aid in Ukraine, yet only 21% of the appeal has been funded to date. By October 2024, Action Against Hunger anticipates a 90% drop in funding from its largest donor.

“The war is not over; needs continue to grow and public services cannot cope on their own. For humanitarian organizations to be able to plan ahead and provide effective aid, it is important to ensure long-term, predictable funding,” said Fort.

Action Against Hunger condemns the attacks perpetrated against the population and civilian infrastructures, including energy infrastructures, which have been deliberately targeted since the beginning of the international conflict in Ukraine. The organization is urging the parties to respect International Humanitarian Law and call for an immediate ceasefire.

About Action Against Hunger in Ukraine

Action Against Hunger works with the most vulnerable people both directly and through Ukrainian partners. From the start of its intervention in March 2022 to February 2024, Action Against Hunger and its partners have helped nearly 960,000 people in the following areas:

  • 133,000 people received help to improve their food security through hot meals, food distributions, food kits or cash assistance.
  • 610,000 people benefited from hygiene kits and improved access to water thanks to Action Against Hunger’s support for water distribution networks.
  • 17,000 people received psychosocial support through psychosocial education and counseling sessions, psychological first aid (PFA) training or stress management modules.
  • 198,000 people received health and nutritional assistance.

About Action Against Hunger

Action Against Hunger leads the global movement to end hunger. We innovate solutions, advocate for change, and reach 28 million people every year with proven hunger prevention and treatment programs. As a nonprofit that works across 55 countries, our 8,900 dedicated staff members partner with communities to address the root causes of hunger, including climate change, conflict, inequity, and emergencies. We strive to create a world free from hunger, for everyone, for good.