After anti-government protests that began in Kiev in late 2013 resulted in a change of government in Ukraine and, following the Russian annexation of Crimea, in April 2014 tensions erupted between pro-Russian and proUkrainian groups in the eastern Ukrainian oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk. Violent unrest has impacted these areas now for almost a year. Parts of Donetsk and Luhansk are no longer under the control of the government of Ukraine and have been declared, by the non-government forces, as independent republics. Government support to services within these areas has been stopped. This includes funding to schools and hospitals as well as the payment of social benefits and pensions to people living in these areas.
Over one million people have displaced to government controlled areas (GCAs). Many families have been displaced for months and have lived through the harsh winter conditions. The financial resources of many internally displaced people (IDP) are thought to be exhausted, having moved away from their homes and lost employment.
The conditions of those internally displaced is compounded by the strained economic situation in Ukraine and the increases in prices of food and essential commodities. Some families are separated, on either sides of the line of control, and movement across this line is difficult for a range of reasons including physical access, security and the need for permits to do so. Furthermore, land mines, UXOs and other remnants of war are an ongoing concern for people living in areas where fighting took place. Damaged schools and infrastructure prevent essential services from operating in some areas.
The international humanitarian community and Ukrainian civil society organisations are responding to the crisis. In December 2014 the IASC approved the activation of the Cluster System for Ukraine and a Humanitarian Coordinator was appointed in January. In February 2015 the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) was revised, based on a deterioration of the humanitarian situation. Recent reports indicate that the humanitarian situation continues to worsen and that conflict may soon intensify.