Geneva (ICRC) – The humanitarian situation of millions of civilians is particularly concerning in densely populated areas affected by the ongoing hostilities.

The impact of the fighting is severe in cities such as Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Donetsk, Kharkiv and other urban areas, the International Committee of the Red Cross warned on Wednesday.

Homes, schools, hospitals, bridges, and other infrastructure have been damaged or destroyed due to heavy fighting, as have vital services. People’s lives are at risk and many lack access to life-saving services.

Many of those who remain are elderly and the most vulnerable, including people with chronic diseases like diabetes, and hypertension who no longer have access to their treatments. Shortages of essential medicine are a rising problem that carry potentially severe health consequences.

“Parties to the conflict have the obligation to take all necessary precautions to spare civilians and essential infrastructure. They should also find agreements to ensure safe passage for civilians to move to safer locations of their choice and to facilitate the delivery of much needed impartial humanitarian aid. The ICRC stands ready as neutral intermediary to facilitate such agreements,” said Pascal Hundt, the ICRC head of delegation in Ukraine.

“Hospitals, schools, water and electrical facilities must be protected. Attacks on such facilities only lead to more human suffering.

The ICRC continues to work in areas affected by the fighting to carry out protection activities and support people with emergency assistance such as food, water, and other vital supplies. We also support hospitals and primary healthcare facilities with medical equipment and medicines.

Over the last months and despite difficult security conditions in and around cities, often close to changing front lines, the ICRC carried out protection and assistance operations, including:

  • Since the beginning of May, ICRC teams have assisted over 900,000 vulnerable people with food, livelihood and cash assistance as well as hygiene material. Medicines and equipment were provided to over 50 health structures to help treat some 58,000 people. We also assisted and continue assisting water utilities to restore and maintain vital water supplies benefitting over 9 million people through the supply of water treatment chemicals and materials. Some 650 civilians have been evacuated to safer places.
  • Around Donetsk the ICRC has continued to deliver food, potable water, basic medical and sanitary material to hospitals, plastic and wooden sheeting for emergency repairs of housing. For instance, several rounds of distribution of food, hygienic items for civilians have recently taken place, as well as potable water to hospitals.
  • In and around Severodonetsk, access has been particularly difficult due to the intensity of the fighting, creating immense suffering among civilians. Deliveries of food, water and medical supplies have become very challenging. Evacuations of civilians were proposed but did not take place due to an absence of agreement between the parties.
  • In Lysychansk we were able to support the water and gas system and with medical supplies for the civilian population.
  • In the Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson and Mykolaiv regions, as well as on Sloviansk in the Donetsk region, the ICRC supports Ukraine Red Cross Society branches to maintain food and water deliveries to particularly vulnerable groups, and distributes food and hygiene supplies near the front lines.