- Conflict increases the risk of violence against women and reduces access to health services
- Over 6 million people forced to leave their homes have remained inside Ukraine and this will increase in winter
- Freezing cold weather will make living conditions even more hazardous as vital energy infrastructure has been destroyed
After the largest attacks on Ukraine’s energy supply and worsening winter conditions, CARE International expresses its deep concern for the safety of civilians across the country.
“Last night we experienced no electricity, with cuts to the water and heating supply. Air alerts forced us into the shelter,” said Marten Mylius, Emergency Relief Coordinator at CARE International, describing the current situation in Lviv, Western Ukraine. “We are worried about the onset of winter; it's supposed to snow in Kyiv this week and soon there will be double-digit sub-zero temperatures across the country. Everyone is wondering how they are going to get through the next few months.”
About 17.7 million people in Ukraine are currently in need of humanitarian assistance. Over 6 million people are displaced inside Ukraine – more than the entire population of Scotland. The destruction of people's homes compounded by harsh winter conditions could lead to another major increase in displacement.
CARE is particularly concerned about the situation of women and girls. In countries affected by conflict, women and girls are at higher risk of experiencing gender-based violence and various forms of exploitation and abuse increase. Disrupted health services pose major challenges, especially for pregnant and lactating women in dire need of such services.
Fabrice Martin, County Director, CARE Ukraine said:
“Infrastructure has been critically damaged. Although our operations are disrupted by air raid sirens, CARE and our partners are doing all we can to support people with winter supplies, including clothing, blankets and heating. Ukrainian citizens urgently need support to survive the winter, specifically in terms of renovations of collective shelters and infrastructure. It is also crucial to ensure that protection and gender-based violence prevention and response are a focus of preparing for winter.”
CARE and its partners are supporting families in Ukraine with essential items to help them face the harsh winter ahead: Aid workers are distributing warm clothing, blankets, and heating equipment. Renovation work is being done to help keep the cold out of private homes and community centres: windows and doors are being replaced, roofs and heating systems repaired, and walls insulated.
But these efforts will not be effective if attacks continue. We call on all conflict parties to respect their obligation under International Humanitarian Law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and to exercise distinction and proportionality.
Notes to the editor
For more information and interview requests, please contact David Moore, Media Officer at CARE International UK at email@example.com.