Landmines and shelling. Damaged schools and houses. Limited access to healthcare, water and electricity. This is the dire reality of 600,000 people living along the 457 kilometre line of contact in eastern Ukraine that separates the areas controlled by the government and those held by armed groups.
Since the conflict started 5 years ago, it has taken the lives of more than 13,000 children, women and men, and left an estimated 3.5 million people in desperate need of humanitarian aid. While more than 2 million people fled eastern Ukraine in search of safety, it is the most vulnerable who stayed behind and continue their daily struggle to survive: the elderly, people with disabilities, and the chronically ill.
The European Union, one of the largest humanitarian donors to the crisis in eastern Ukraine, has provided close to €134 million in emergency funding since the beginning of the conflict. About half of this assistance benefits those most in need in the non-government controlled areas. Photojournalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Manu Brabo has documented life in the areas along the frontline in February 2019, where 1,900 people benefitted from the “Basic, Safe and Dignified Shelters” project which is run by the EU-funded non-governmental organisation ‘ACCESS’ Consortium.
By Lisa Hastert, regional information officer, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.