• The continued shelling of civilian infrastructure, including the water system, education and health facilities, has exacerbated the urgent humanitarian needs of children, who rely on such systems for clean water supply, education, health and other services on both sides of the line of contact.
• During 2018, UNICEF continued to provide pre-school, school and community-based psychosocial services (PSS) to over 70,000 children and their caregivers in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts on both sides of the line of contact. UNICEF continued to ensure uninterrupted access to water, including through the repair of infrastructure, supply of chemicals and coordination of humanitarian and development assistance throughout the year.
As a result, over 1.4 million children and caregivers benefitted from uninterrupted access to water as well as sanitation and hygiene assistance in 2018.
• UNICEF rehabilitated 33 conflict-affected schools on both sides of the line of contact, ensuring uninterrupted access to learning opportunities in safe spaces for over 7,000 children.
• To access to quality maternal health services for an estimated 20,000 pregnant women and newborn children, a total of 861 midwifery kits were distributed to health facilities in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Ceasefire violations continued to impact the lives of 500,000 children who remain in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. The repeated shelling of critical water, sanitation, electrical and heating infrastructure has threatened access to safe drinking water for 3.4 million people in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, prompting UNICEF to establish and maintain programs aimed at ensuring uninterrupted access, regardless of the scale and intensity of shelling.
UNICEF continued to place an emphasis on supporting teachers and educational institutions across Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts to provide gender specific and age-sensitive education, as well as improving the conditions of safe learning spaces through the rehabilitation of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities, on both sides of the line of contact. With an estimated 13 educational facilities damaged by shelling since January 2018, the impact of hostilities on schools and the safety of children has been the basis for specific messaging and advocacy framed on the required observance of humanitarian principles and child rights. Over the past two years, 58 education facilities were damaged and 65 schools were closed in conflict-affected areas.
In May and June 2018 alone, 10 education facilities came under fire and 8 education facilities were temporarily closed (switched to distance learning) due to hostilities. A survey of 920 schools (out of 3,500 in conflictaffected areas in government controlled areas), conducted by the Education Cluster in September 2018, revealed that 84 percent of education facilities need rehabilitation for some of infrastructural components, such as repairs of windows and WASH facilities. Many schools struggle to cope with the winter cold due to old or non-functioning heating systems or lack of resources to procure fuel. Throughout the year UNICEF rehabilitated education facilities and provided educational supplies, on both sides of the line of contact.
Mines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) remain a significant threat to the health and life of the children in the conflict affected regions. In 2018, 4 children were killed and 16 injured in mine/ERW related incidents.
The threat of physical violence and emotional distress continue to pose serious risks to over 200,000 children and their families living along the contact line. UNICEF continued to provide psychosocial support to over 130,000 children, their caregivers and professionals working with them how to cope with stress, anxiety and how to address protection concerns.
Gender-based violence (GBV) remains a significant risk in eastern Ukraine, particularly in the areas along the contact line. To tackle the issue, UNICEF-supported mobile teams in the East addressed the immediate needs of over 5,600 women, girls and boys affected by GBV and domestic violence, as well as carried out awareness raising activities among children, youth and caregivers. Moreover, the experience and knowledge from the field assisted UNICEF to contribute to the development of legal and administrative framework on domestic violence at the national level.
Health service networks remain seriously disrupted which, coupled with low vaccination rates, raise concerns about the outbreak of disease. Access to services for children and adults living with HIV and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV remains a key objective. In 2018, UNICEF continued to ensure access to uninterrupted antiretroviral treatment for over 13,000 people living with HIV in Donetsk and Luhansk, in NonGovernment Controlled Areas (NGCA) until end of June and handed over to National NGOs