“Collection Centres inside Ukraine are becoming less transient and more permanent in nature. Support and assistance to local organisations working on the ground is essential. As the conflict continues, those who flee will have less resources and enhanced humanitarian needs.” -Jane-Ann Mckenna
Appearing before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence today Dóchas, along with member representatives from the Irish Red Cross, Concern and Trócaire, described how the humanitarian crisis within Ukraine is becoming more critical by the day.
Almost a month since the start of the conflict over 3.5 million people have fled the country, the majority of whom are women and children. Millions more have fled their homes and are displaced in Ukraine and as fighting continues they will likely be displaced multiple times. That figure will only continue to increase in the coming weeks and months.
Addressing the Committee, CEO of Dóchas, Jane-Ann McKenna drew parallels with Syria and Afghanistan. Ordinary civilians - some trapped in besieged towns and cities, others on the move, - are living in constant fear of indiscriminate attacks and having their lives torn apart. Dóchas and its members are calling for all sides in the conflict to protect civilians and civilian structures both for those who choose to leave and those who remain.
She said “The humanitarian needs are escalating inside Ukraine, and reaching those in need is becoming more difficult. All parties are obligated under international humanitarian law to ensure safe, unimpeded access to all areas to deliver aid and reach vulnerable citizens trapped without services. Very often it is the most vulnerable who do not have the means to move, and are fully dependent on available support, who are staying behind.”
Ms McKenna continued, “Collection Centres inside Ukraine are becoming less transient and more permanent in nature. Support and assistance to local organisations working on the ground is essential. As the conflict continues, those who flee will have less resources and enhanced humanitarian needs.”
The wider impact of this crisis on those already dependent on humanitarian assistance and struggling in extreme poverty and hunger across the world was also highlighted. The conflict will have consequences on food security for many low-income food import dependent countries, particularly in Africa.
The World Food Programme, which gets half of the wheat it distributes in humanitarian crises from Ukraine, will need to find other suppliers and the costs of responding to other crises such as Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen will increase. Everything must be done to avert a catastrophic hunger crisis and the collapse of the global food system.
Watch the full session here
For press queries please contact
Dóchas Head of Communications and Public Engagement