21 December 2015 – Over 1 million people have been provided with safe water for drinking, cooking and hygiene in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the framework of a UNICEF project funded by the European Commission through its Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO).

In addition, over 11,000 children and adults in non-government-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine benefitted from essential hygiene supplies.

“UNICEF’s partnership with the EU has substantially improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene for families in conflict-affected areas of eastern Ukraine. However, the needs for humanitarian assistance to children and their families in Donetsk and Luhansk regions are still acute, particularly with regards to water access and essential hygiene supplies,– said Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine.

The armed conflict has significantly damaged the water and sanitation infrastructure in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. To prevent outbreaks of water-borne diseases in emergency-affected communities, purification of drinking water is crucial. There are a number of ways to disinfect water, but chlorination is the most common one. In the framework of the joint UNICEF and European Commission project, almost 900,000 people in eastern Ukraine were reached with chlorinated water during one month, both in non-government and government controlled areas.

”EU humanitarian aid benefits affected civilian population on both sides of the frontline. Our help goes wherever there is a need.” stated Mamar Merzouk, Head of the European Commission`s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) office in Kyiv.

UNICEF estimates that just under 3 million people are in need of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) support in the conflict-affected areas in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

As the conflict in eastern Ukraine enters its third year, more than 1.6 million people have been internally displaced, among them almost 200,000 children.

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For more information, please contact:

Veronika Vashchenko, UNICEF Kyiv, +38.044.254.2450, vvashchenko@unicef.org

Mamar Merzouk, ECHO office in Kyiv, +38.068.389.0804, Mamar.Merzouk@echofield.eu

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About UNICEF:

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work in Ukraine visit: www.unicef.org.ua. Join us on Twitter, Facebook and ВКонтакте.

About EU humanitarian aid:

The European Commission`s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) funds relief operations for victims of natural disasters and conflicts outside the European Union. Aid is provided impartially, directly to people in need, without discrimination of their race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation. For more information: http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm,http://www.facebook.com/ec.humanitarian.aid, https://twitter.com/eu_echo

In addition, over 11,000 children and adults in non-government-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine benefitted from essential hygiene supplies.