WFP Reaches Stranded Civilians In Luhansk City After Months Of Fighting

KIEV – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Thursday it had reached Luhansk city with three convoys this month, providing food assistance to nearly 10,000 stranded civilians for the first time since December.

WFP convoys gained access to the non-government controlled area through a new route travelling from Severodonetsk in the northeast of the country.

Since the first convoy reached the area on 5 March, WFP has provided food assistance for nearly 10,000 people for one month. Food is being distributed in Luhansk city and surrounding areas.

“Civilians in the country’s east are in a very difficult situation and WFP has been looking into ways to reach these people, who are in dire need of humanitarian assistance,” said WFP Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia Carlo Scaramella. “Opening new routes and corridors has been a breakthrough in our operations enabling us to deliver much-needed assistance people who have been cut off for months without access to markets or food supplies,” he said.

WFP has scaled up its emergency operation in eastern Ukraine to provide food assistance until the end of June for close to 190,000 vulnerable people displaced by the conflict and civilians trapped near the frontlines.

Since August 2014, WFP has reached more than 80,000 people with either food vouchers or locally-purchased food rations. WFP is providing assistance through food vouchers to displaced families in areas where the markets are functioning.

More than three quarters of WFP food parcels have been provided to non-government controlled areas. Food rations are distributed in conflict-affected areas with limited access to markets – mostly non-government controlled areas.  The food includes staples such as rice, vegetable oil, pasta and canned food.

WFP uses food vouchers when food is available in markets but people cannot afford to buy it. Vouchers also inject money into the local economies of the host community that are under strain because of hosting displaced people from other areas.

It is estimated that more than 1 million people have been displaced in Ukraine since the start of the crisis. WFP launched in August 2014 its emergency operation in Ukraine at a cost of US$21.5 million. WFP needs an immediate US$9.4 million to continue to provide assistance through June.

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):
Ryan McDonagh, WFP/Kiev, +380 (96) 469 0450
Abeer Etefa, WFP/Cairo, Mobile. +2 010 6663 4352