End the blockade of Donbass
Humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine
[17.09.2015] IPPNW medical practitioners from 15 European countries appealed yesterday to Presidents Poroshenko and Putin, the European Parliament and the OSCE to help lift the blockade of Donbass and allow free access to humanitarian assistance for the population in the region. The Ukraine government further tightened the blockade of the Donbass conflict region in June of this year: food and medical supplies are only allowed into the area controlled by the Separatists unter strict controls.
In their report of this May, the OSCE complained that many people in the conflict zone were living in cellars without any water, food or necessary medicines. Hospitals, such as the one in Krasnodon, have no oxygen so that badly-needed operations cannot be carried out. Medicines that are needed to treat patients, particulary those with chronic conditions such as diabetes or tuberculosis, are not available.
Both parties to the conflict, the Ukrainian government and the Separatists, are required by international law to guarantee unhindered access to food and medical supplies to the civilian population. In reality, both sides have hindered humanitarian transports considerably.
Five million Ukrainians in the East of the country are dependent on aid because of the war there. According to UN data, more than 260,000 Ukrainians are refugees in their own country. 94 % of these people are from East Ukraine and are living in regions around Donezk, Charkiv and Kiev. According to Russian authorities, more than 800,000 Ukrainians have fled to Russia.
IPPNW doctors and medical students at the European conference in Belgrade were deeply troubled to hear of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in East Ukraine. An IPPNW member and a freelance journalist from the region told stories of the suffering of civilians. Children are particularly traumatised. Both of these witnesses agreed that people of the Ukraine are tired of the war.