Press release 180/2014
22 August 2014
By decision of Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs grants 500,000 euros in humanitarian aid for Ukraine. The aid will be delivered to its destination through UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency , which has a key role in assisting Ukrainians forced to flee their homes.
“The humanitarian situation in East Ukraine has deteriorated rapidly with an increase in the fighting. Women and children make up a large share of those who have had to leave their homes. These displaced people are in urgent need of lodging, food and other basics,” Haavisto says.
“The humanitarian aid given by Finland is always based on international humanitarian principles; it is independent and impartial. At the same time, I hope that a political solution to the conflict is found as quickly as possible.”
More than 155,000 Ukrainians are already registered as internally displaced persons, but according to UNHCR, the number of people who have fled from their homes to other areas may actually be much higher. Of those who have registered, 85 per cent have fled from East Ukraine.
Most have left their homes because of the violence or the humanitarian consequences of the crisis, including the lack of water, food and medicine.
People returning to their homes, in turn, need assistance in repairing buildings destroyed in combat so that they are again suitable for residential use.
On 14 August the United Nations and the Government of Ukraine announced a preliminary joint plan, according to which the various UN organizations need a total of USD 33.3 million (approximately 25 million euros) in order to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. UNHCR’s share of the total is one third.
UNHCR assists, among others, in surveying the needs of those internally displaced together with the Ukrainian authorities and various organizations, it distributes humanitarian aid to the most needy and helps the government to create new legislation that secures the situation of those who have had to leave their homes.
Already in March, Finland granted 500,000 euros to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Ukraine. This aid was delivered through the Finnish Red Cross.
Additional information: Joel Linnainmäki, Press Attaché to Minister Haavisto, mobile tel. +358 40 522 9869; and Anna Gebremedhin, Head of the Unit for Humanitarian Assistance, mobile tel. +358 40 583 0149