Lack of funding for Ukraine aid becoming serious issue, UN official says

The lack of funding for Ukraine aid is becoming a serious issue as the embattled country prepares for the cold months ahead, Ukraine’s United Nations humanitarian coordinator said Monday.

In a virtual news conference from Kyiv, Denise Brown said the $3.9 billion humanitarian appeal for Ukraine is 30 percent funded while the country is faced with damaged buildings and thousands of people without homes after the collapse of the Kakhovka dam.

A report last week from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the lack of funding is “hampering operations, adding to the challenges imposed by insecurity and other obstacles.”

Brown said 17 million Ukrainians need aid while the U.N. is targeting between 11 million and 12 million people. This echoed concerns addressed in last week’s report, which said humanitarian organizations reached nearly 7.3 million people by the end of June, but could not reach over 25 percent of people in parts of the south, east and north due to funding shortages and “other operational challenges.”

As Ukraine prepares to enter its second winter fighting Russia, Brown emphasized the need for shelter and psycho-social support, especially after thousands of peoples’ homes were flooded following the collapse of the Kakhovka dam in early June.

Both Ukrainian and Russian officials blame one another for the collapse. It is still not clear which side is responsible. Russia alleged the dam was hit by a missile or taken down by explosives, but this does not explain why the blast registered on the seismic monitors.

Brown said the U.N., European Union and World Bank will be supporting an assessment on Ukranian needs following the collapse and should be ready in “a couple of weeks,” noting that longer-term needs “are very large.”

“We know that donors are doing their best, but the needs are enormous,” Brown said. ”I’m hopeful that funding will come.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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