There is a conflict going on directly on the EU’s  doorstep and I see very few reports about it. But there are people in need, they are our neighbours and these neighbours are aiming to join the EU. So what is the EU doing for these humans?  Let’s have a look. 

International and local humanitarian agencies in Ukraine gathered in Berlin on 22 November to draw the attention of the international community to the humanitarian crisis in the east of the country.

The Eastern Partnership

The EU-supported conference, “Ukraine: A Forgotten Humanitarian Crisis in Europe?” held a dialogue with the aim to achieve a shared understanding of the humanitarian needs of the eastern European state and best way forward. Participants urged decision makers to commit to tangible improvements to the situation in Eastern Ukraine, in particular, the Anti-Terrorist Operation Zone or ATO region, where human suffering is intensifying almost four years after Russian fostered hostilities began.

Humanitarian aid still required

An estimated four million people are in need of humanitarian support. Protracted displacement is a challenge and lack of livelihood opportunities forces some Internally Displaced People (IDPs) to return to insecure areas. The main challenges for aid organisations is providing assistance to 1,583,827 registered IDPs in Ukraine (by April 25th, 2017) and accessing to those in need living on the other side of the contact line.

Activists gathered in Berlin to draw attention to the issue during the conference

In May 2017, a consortium made up of People in Need (PIN), Action Contre la Faim (ACF), Médecins du Monde (MDM), Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) and REACH Initiative began implementing the ACCESS project: “Access to Multi-Sectoral Humanitarian Assistance” in Eastern Ukraine has financial support from its main donor, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, or ECHO.

Involvement and communication

ACCESS aims to provide multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance for conflict-affected populations in Eastern Ukraine via capitalisation on each organisation’s respective technical expertise in various sectors and further improvement of relief response through better coordination and synergy. 

The EU is working on it but obviously, like in a lot of other cases, not communicating good enough so that this conflict and its victims are not forgotten. And of course the EU could and should try to improve the overall situation too because our European neighbours need and deserve our help and the union has the capacity to do what is required.

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