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Ukrainian conflict: Priority support should be given to people with disabilities

Since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict in March 2014 there has been a large number of civilian casualties, and the United Nations (UN) recently warned that this death toll has risen dramatically in recent weeks, with at least 2,086 people killed and 4,953 wounded. Given the terrible situation and the repeated attacks and struggles between Ukrainian Governmental forces and rebels, hundreds of civilians have been fleeing from the Eastern part of the country, particularly from the two most affected regions: Lugansk and Donetsk. These areas have been suffering from electricity cuts and food and water shortages. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that the number of Internally Displaced People (IDP) in the last month has raised sharply - displacement intensified from 2,649 on 6 June to 86,600 on 15 July – and also emphasises the vulnerability of displaced people, who have fewer resources and possessions, and many of whom have experienced the effects of violence.
 
The Humanitarian impact of the conflict
The Ukrainian association "National Assembly of Disabled of Ukraine" (NADU) together with the NGO "European Association for Disability Rights" launched a program that provides assistance to people with disabilities and their families coming from Donetsk and Lugansk regions. They reported that more than 372.000 people from these two regions have a disability and many of them may need support. They alerted that 21.200 of them are children and also warn that the emergency requires a rapid, coordinated and effective action as many of the internally displaced people with a disability are sheltered in different parts of Ukraine without any appropriate support.
 
The Humanitarian impact of the conflict is growing every day and more and more civilians are suffering, losing their homes and leaving their cities. The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) wishes to express its solidarity to the Ukrainian people and its sincere condolences to the families of the victims.
 
EASPD, representing the European service providers for persons with disabilities, calls on the United Nations and the European Union to pay special attention to the more vulnerable groups when designing and implementing Emergency Aid Programmes. Priority should be given to internally displaced people with physical, sensorial and/or mental disabilities who had to flee the war in Eastern Ukraine, because together with women and children, they are the most vulnerable victims and may encounter more difficulties in finding their place in the host communities. We also urge the parties involved in the conflict to fully respect Human Rights and the dignity of civilians during this crisis.

On Sunday 24th August the International Conference on Disaster and Risk Management organised by Global Risk Forum Davos in cooperation with the UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Council of Europe starts in Davos. This is an extremely important occasion to raise awareness and get the attention of those who can help provide economic and material support to Ukrainian civil society.
 

To read the press release in PDF format, please click here.

More Press Releases
 

For more information, please contact:

Nieves Tejada Castro
EASPD Communications Officer
T. +32 2 282 46 18

Luk Zelderloo
EASPD Secretary General
T. +32 2 282 46 10