Three EU-chartered cargo planes shipping a total of over 85 tonnes of relief supplies are reaching Ukraine today. The first plane landed in Dnepropetrovsk this morning at around 12:30 local time.
EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, has travelled to Dnepropetrovsk to personally oversee the delivery of the EU supplies and meet the civilians displaced by the conflict.
The planes, as well as a number of trucks, carry supplies such as tents, blankets, sleeping bags, water containers, heaters, hygiene kits and warm clothing to be distributed to people affected by the ongoing fighting. ECHO partners, including UNICEF and the UN Refugee Agency, are organising the distribution.
During his mission to Ukraine, Commissioner Stylianides visited a collective centre for people internally displaced by the conflict (IDPs), where he saw non-food items such as warm clothes and blankets being distributed by the UN Refugee Agency.
Commissioner Stylianides is also meeting with beneficiaries who have received cash assistance for winter items via Save the Children. The action is part of an ongoing EU-funded programme aiming to reach 10 000 vulnerable individuals by the end of February 2015.
Yesterday, Commissioner Stylianides met with President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, as well as other high-level state representatives, to reaffirm Europe's solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
More than 900 000 have been displaced to safer areas within Ukraine and about 600 000 people have fled abroad, mainly into neighbouring Russia. Of the 5.2 million people living in the affected region around 1.4 million are considered to be highly vulnerable and in need of humanitarian assistance.
As part of its response to the crisis, the European Commission is pledging to give €15 million in humanitarian aid in 2015, bringing its total humanitarian assistance for the crisis to over €26 million. Some 40% of this funding is addressed to affected populations living in rebel-held areas. Funding coming from the Member States amounts to over €47 million.
The European Commission has allocated humanitarian funding also in support of the immediate winter needs of some of the most vulnerable refugees who fled the conflict in eastern Ukraine into Belarus and Russia.