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As the Middle East experiences turmoil, a severe and expansive conflict persists in Ukraine.
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As the Middle East experiences turmoil, a severe and expansive conflict persists in Ukraine.

Director of Coordination Division at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Ramesh Rajasingham, spoke to ambassadors about the pressing need for humanitarian aid as winter approaches. He also emphasized the growing difficulty in accessing essential services.

He described the actions taken by aid workers to assist communities in high-risk and remote locations, such as securing ample water and warmth supplies.

He stated that the goal is to guarantee that all citizens have a place that is both secure and comfortable for the upcoming winter season.

Access challenges

The absence of humanitarian access to areas of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia currently under Russian military control is considered one of the most significant challenges.

The OCHA representative stated that not providing aid to the approximately four million individuals in these regions will have serious consequences, especially as winter approaches. They stressed the legal responsibility of all involved parties to allow and assist in the prompt and unrestricted delivery of assistance.

He stated the importance of being able to ease the human suffering caused by the war in Ukraine, regardless of its location.

Devastating toll

According to Mr. Rajasingham, recent confirmed data indicates that over 9,900 civilians have lost their lives since the beginning of the invasion in February of last year.

According to the UN human rights office (OHCHR), these numbers are the only ones that have been officially confirmed. However, the actual number is likely to be higher.

He mentioned that there was considerable harm done to essential civilian infrastructure, such as power, heating, water, and communication systems. He also noted attacks on health facilities and workers.

According to him, humanitarian groups have also been affected, and he pointed out that 14 aid workers have lost their lives in 2023.

A wide view of the UN Security Council chambers as members meet on the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine.

UN Photo/Loey Felipe

A panoramic view of the United Nations Security Council room as its members convene to discuss the preservation of peace and security in Ukraine.

Grain exports

The director’s note from OCHA mentioned ongoing attacks on port facilities located on the Black Sea and the Danube River.

According to him, despite Russia’s withdrawal from the UN-brokered Black Sea Initiative, Ukraine has seen an increase in the amount of ships coming and going through its Black Sea ports. This is due to a temporary corridor that was established in August.

Mr. Rajasingham emphasized the importance of safely and sustainably connecting all sources of food supplies to global supply chains, especially during a time when hunger is prevalent worldwide. This sentiment has been repeated numerous times in this chamber.