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UN Business Guide: Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis (April 2022)

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The war in Ukraine, which began on 24 February, has caused death and suffering on a dramatic scale and left at least 15.7 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and protection

The conflict has caused the world’s fastest growing displacement crisis since World War II, with nearly 13 million people uprooted in less than two months. Over a quarter of Ukraine’s population have fled their homes, including more than 7.7 million people now estimated to be internally displaced and over 5.2 million people who have crossed borders to seek security and safety in other countries, most of them women and children. Nearly two-thirds of the children in Ukraine have been displaced.

Massive devastation in urban centres, and the destruction of civilian infrastructure, have made life unbearable for millions of people and severely disrupted critical services, especially healthcare. In besieged areas, people have lived for weeks without access to food, water and heat, while under the constant threat of bombardment.

The war is impacting women and men in different ways and is exacerbating pre-existing inequalities, according to a Rapid Gender Analysis by UN Women and CARE. Ukraine’s population has a distinctly gendered profile, with 54 per cent women and 46 per cent men, including a particularly large population of older females. Prior to the escalation of the war, 71 per cent of the heads of households in Governmentcontrolled areas were female. Women from groups in vulnerable situations are being left behind and disproportionately affected by disruptions caused by war, while the displacement and refugee flow is largely gendered-based violence—including conflictrelated sexual violence, sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and trafficking.

The armed conflict may prevent farmers from accessing their fields, harvesting, and marketing current crops, planting new crops, or sustaining livestock production. Between 20 and 30 per cent of areas under winter cereal, maize and sunflower production will remain unharvested in July/August, or not be planted this spring, according to the Government and FAO. About half of winter wheat and a third of rye due to be harvested in July–August 2022 are currently in war-affected areas. There are also concerns over damage to standing crops and risk of mines and unexploded ordnance impacting the ability to harvest in the period ahead.

The war has also devastated Ukraine’s economy. The Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal, has said that economic losses due to the ongoing military offensive may exceed $1 trillion, while some 53 per cent of employed Ukrainians have lost their jobs since the war began, according to a nation-wide survey conducted by the Rating Group in March.

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