Doctors of the World joins push to help civilians in Ukraine’s forgotten conflict

Published 27th October 2017

Doctors of the World has worked with a number of international humanitarian groups to launch a project that will help over 163,000 people on both sides of Ukraine’s conflict.

Eastern Ukraine’s conflict is now in its fourth year and risks becoming a forgotten battleground. Over 10,000 people – including nearly 3,000 civilians – have been killed and critical infrastructure has been damaged. Thousands of civilians living close to the conflict’s “contact line” are suffering under continued shelling.

Doctors of the World, People in Need, Action Contre La Faim, and ACTED will provide additional humanitarian assistance to over 163,000 people on both sides of the contact line. The EU is providing €4.1 million to support this project, which will be carried out in partnership with IMPACT Initiatives.

The Doctors of the World network works in Ukraine’s Luhansk province. Our mobile clinics go to villages near the contact line and provide desperately-needed primary care and mental health support to isolated people. We work in both government-controlled and non-government-controlled areas.

In the divided parts of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, citizens struggle to get by because social and financial services have been suspended. The movement of people and goods across the contact line is highly restricted, making life extremely hard especially in terms of access to medical care.

“My dad has had two strokes and for the last seven years he’s barely been able to stand up,” says Maryna (pictured above), who lives in Zolote 4, one of the villages where we work.

“To call an ambulance to our village is very problematic – there are so many checkpoints, they often do not allow the ambulances to pass. So you can die 10 times while waiting for an ambulance.”

An estimated four million people in eastern Ukraine are in need of humanitarian support. Humanitarian groups are doing their best but there is a serious lack of funding for and international attention to this crisis.

In order to draw attention to the crisis, Doctors of the World UK and partners People in Need, Action Contre La Faim, ACTED and IMPACT Initiatives, are hosting a conference on the ongoing conflict, its humanitarian consequences, and ways forward. With the title, Ukraine: A Forgotten Humanitarian Crisis in Europe?, the event will take place in Berlin on 22 November 2017, 09:30-14:00 local time. Panelists include representatives of German Foreign Office, the United Nations, international and local NGOs, EU representatives as well as Ukrainian officials and civil society representatives. Follow the event on Twitter (#UkraineNotForgotten) or on Periscope @ACF_Deutschland.

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