Top 10 Facts about the Ukraine-Russia Conflict
2017 brought significant changes to Ukraine as 6.4 million Ukrainians rose above the country’s poverty line thanks to increases in minimum wage and a boost in social welfare programs. However, after five years of conflict with Russia and 39 percent of the country still living below the poverty line, the future of Ukraine’s poor remains uncertain. As the Ukraine-Russia conflict continues, aid from the U.S. and other countries is the only sure-fire way for those in Ukraine to find relief from the violence at hand.
Here are 10 facts about the conflict in Ukraine and its effect on this eastern European nation.  

Top 10 Facts about the Ukraine-Russia Conflict

  1. The Ukraine-Russia conflict began in 2013 when the former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych declined a resolution that would allow for Ukraine to engage in more economic activity with the European Union. After Yanukovych declined the deal, protests began in the capital city, Kiev. When police intervened, the number of protesters increased to contest the brutal treatment from the officers. Yanukovych fled the country in 2014 amid the turmoil, leaving Russia to occupy Ukraine soon after.
  2. Currently, the Ukrainian military is fighting rebels in eastern Ukraine who are being supported by Russia and who wish to annex and become part of Russia.
  3. The Ukraine-Russia conflict has killed more than 10,000 and wounded at least 23,000.
  4. Since 2014, fighting between the two countries has damaged more than 700 schools as well as 130 medical centers. Breaches in ceasefires have endangered more than 200,000 children who are often put in harm’s way and lack access to safe learning spaces.
  5. The front line of the war stretches 280 miles across Ukraine, blocking much of the country’s access to trade and supplies from neighboring countries and the U.N.
  6. In 2017, UNICEF, along with nongovernmental organizations and utility companies, worked to provide more than 962,000 people clean drinking water in both government-controlled and non-government-controlled areas. They also provided vouchers for cash and hygiene education to 160,000 people living closest to the front lines, 30,000 of them children.
  7. UNICEF offered psychosocial support to 82,000 children and caregivers within 15 km of the front line through community support centers. The organization also provided 700,000 children and their families with mine-risk education. Futhermore, the rehabilitation of 87 schools and kindergartens within 5 km of the front lines, provided by UNICEF aid, allowed 138,000 children to return to school, with teachers and aides receiving emergency training.
  8. In order to provide proper healthcare, education and shelter for its citizens, Ukraine requires consistent aid from the United States. Americans can alleviate the effects of the violence in Ukraine by contacting their congresspeople and representatives and asking that they support the International Affairs Budget. Ongoing support from the U.S. will help to improve the conditions of those in the middle of the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
  9. USAID supported elections in 600 communities throughout Ukraine, with many of these townships experiencing their first true election process.
  10. For 2018, Ukraine requires $23.6 million in aid in order to properly improve the country’s predicament. The top three main areas of need are:
    • Access to clean water, sanitation services and hygiene products ($13,619,000)
    • Child protection from violence ($3,200,000)
    • Education ($3,050,000)

Although there is still a long way to go in ending the Ukraine-Russia conflict some important steps have been made. The Ukraine government passed a healthcare reform law in October, which was signed by President Poroshenko, to improve the quality of care provided to its citizens and reduce corruption in the system. The work being done by UNICEF and USAID in Ukraine is helping to alleviate the damaging impact of the conflict. The next step will be working to end the Ukraine-Russia conflict once and for all.

– Jason Crosby
Photo: Flickr

typhoon_victimsThe United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched a $2.8 million appeal to help children affected by Typhoon Koppu which recently tore through the Philippines.

“Typhoon Koppu’s slow moving path includes mountainous and hard-to-reach areas, and we are concerned about the wellbeing of all affect children,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander said.

Days before Typhoon Koppu hit, UNICEF activated its emergency preparedness measures via its Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) plan. The DRR is a systematic approach that assesses and reduces risk before, during and after a disaster.

UNICEF collaborated with the Philippine government in the pre-emptive evacuation plan which minimized casualties and property damage.

Mike Bruce, a spokesperson for Plan International, said the typhoon hit many poor communities that would struggle to rebuild their livelihoods without assistance.

“UNICEF’s first priority is to ensure children are safe and protected. Following a typhoon, children face risks from contaminated water sources, lack of food, epidemics such as cholera, hypothermia, diarrhea and pneumonia,” said Sylwander.

Save the Children estimates that 4.5 million children could be affected. In addition to restoring a safe water supply for families in the evacuation centers, UNICEF will include nutritional aid for breastfeeding mothers.

Typhoon Koppu caused floods, landslides, power outages and damaged roads and bridges, consequently isolating several towns and villages. However, the Philippines disaster agency said they have evacuated more than 65,000 people from low-lying and landslide-prone areas.

UNICEF has provided about 12,000 families with water purification tablets, hygiene kits, medicines, schools supplies, food, tents and generators.

“Secondly, we must ensure that the rhythm of children’s lives are restored and that they get back to school as soon as possible,” continued Sylwander.

DRR is also working in collaboration with Save the Children, Plan, World Vision and the Institute for Development Studies to ensure that policies recognize child safety.

Save the Children’s Country Director in the Philippines, Ned Olney, said, “From our own experience responding to other storms in the Philippines we know that children are always the most vulnerable in a disaster, in the coming days we will determine what support they will need.”

Many poor communities were destroyed many typhoon victims are attempting to return to their villages to salvage as much as possible.

UNICEF will conduct an assessment of the destruction of banana, coconut, rice and corn plantations in the most affected areas to estimate the extent of the needs of the typhoon victims. The assessment will also determine the damage done to education facilities and what will be needed to restore them as soon as possible.

Marie Helene Ngom

Sources: Huffington Post, UNICEF 1, UNICEF 2
Photo: Flickr