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Italy donates EUR 1 million to WFP and UNICEF for people affected by conflict in Eastern Ukraine

The Government of Italy has donated EUR 1 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF to assist people affected by the conflict in Eastern Ukraine in 2017.

“The Italian Government continues to support the non-stop and commendable efforts carried out by UN agencies in Ukraine to assist the population affected by the conflict,” said Davide La Cecilia, the Italian Ambassador to Ukraine. “Our contribution to WFP and UNICEF operations will help ease people’s suffering, in particular for the most vulnerable, providing food assistance, increasing knowledge and building safe behaviour practices to deal with the risk of mines.”

Italy’s contribution will enable WFP to provide food to the most vulnerable people who do not receive assistance from other humanitarian actors. WFP will also use the funds to implement small-scale early recovery activities to improve local livelihoods. UNICEF will use the funds to provide mine risk education programmes for children and families living close to the contact line, a line which divides government and non-government controlled areas where fighting is most severe.

“WFP is thankful to the Government of Italy for helping us provide much-needed food assistance to vulnerable people affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine,” said Giancarlo Stopponi, WFP Deputy Country Director in Ukraine. “WFP greatly appreciates Italy’s support at a time when communities across Ukraine continue to experience the negative consequences of the conflict.”

Since November 2014, WFP has provided emergency food assistance to internally displaced people, returnees and residents in eastern Ukraine, distributing monthly food packages and food assistance through cash-based transfers or vouchers. To date, nearly 850,000 of the most vulnerable conflict-affected people have received food from WFP, in spite of the ongoing conflict and a volatile security situation that has restricted the movement of humanitarian staff. In 2017, WFP will continue to address the food needs of the most vulnerable people in eastern Ukraine while gradually bolstering recovery. WFP plans to provide food assistance to 220,000 food-insecure people in conflict-affected areas of eastern Ukraine.

“UNICEF is grateful to the Government of Italy for their contribution supporting UNICEF’s mine risk education programme in eastern Ukraine. The funds will help protect 500,000 children and their caregivers from dangers due to mines and other unexploded ordnance,” said Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine.

UNICEF provides life-saving mine risk education to half-a-million children and caregivers. It also provides psychosocial support to over 200,000 boys and girls and their caregivers caught in the conflict, rehabilitates schools damaged by fighting and provides 2.5 million people with access to safe water. In 2017, UNICEF is appealing for US$31.3 million to meet the urgent health and nutrition, education, water, hygiene and sanitation, and protection needs of the most vulnerable children and families affected by the conflict.