The United Nations on Wednesday appealed for $5.6 billion to ease the plight of millions of people affected and displaced by the war in Ukraine that is moving into its second year.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) launched the appeal almost one year after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
“Almost a year on, the war continues to cause death, destruction, and displacement daily, and on a staggering scale,” said Martin Griffiths, the UN humanitarian affairs head, at a Geneva press conference.
He said the UN's official figure of 7,155 civilians killed in the conflict is most likely considerably higher.
“There are nearly 18 million people in need - 18 million out of a 43 million pre-war population, now down to much less, 36 million still living in Ukraine,” said Griffiths.
The UN said Ukraine's humanitarian situation deteriorated rapidly "after the Russian Federation's invasion escalated eight years of conflict in the east into a full-scale war."
The Humanitarian Response Plan for Ukraine calls for $3.9 billion to reach 11.1 million people with food, health care, cash, and other life-saving assistance. The Refugee Response Plan for Ukraine’s refugees appeals for $1.7 billion.
The displacement crisis remains the largest in the world, with almost 6 million estimated internally displaced people, said Refugee Agency chief Filippo Grandi.
The plan includes 10 refugee host countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia, with some 250 partners.
Grandi said the funds will help 4.2 million Ukrainian refugees and communities in countries hosting them.