The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has delivered life-saving supplies to Odesa to help an estimated 50,000 children in the war-ravaged districts of southern Ukraine.
UNICEF, in a statement, stated that the supplies were done on Tuesday to Odesa districts, the crucial Black Sea port which Russia bombed on Saturday.
Russia bombed the districts hours after signing a landmark deal to allow Ukrainian grain to reach millions of food insecure people across the world.
The supplies to be pre-positioned in Odesa city, included water purification equipment, sanitation and hygiene supplies to prevent sickness due to lack of clean water and sanitation – particularly dangerous to vulnerable populations.
Around 110,000 people would be assisted by filters and chemicals to deliver clean water and hygiene kits would help to keep 14,000 children healthy.
“UNICEF is delivering life-saving supplies to important areas including Odesa and surrounds, so we can quickly respond to the most vulnerable families who are affected by the ongoing fighting and shelling in eastern Ukraine,” UNICEF Ukraine Representative Murat Sahin, said.
“Provision of safe water supplies and hygiene kits will help an estimated 50,000 children stay healthy in these challenging circumstances.”
Additionally, the supplies would contribute to improving the living conditions of internally displaced families and children, many of whom had fled to Odesa from war-affected districts.
Last Friday’s UN-brokered deal paving the way for Ukraine to begin exporting grain once more to markets in the developing world, would rely on being able to ship cereals out of Odesa’s main port, which had been under threat since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, and the mining of waterways around the coastal city.
So far, the city had been relatively unscathed compared with the near total destruction of Mariupol further to the east.
But on Saturday, Russia launched cruise missile strikes, reportedly confirming on Sunday via a foreign ministry spokesperson, that it had been targeting military infrastructure in Odesa port.
Amid continuing hopes that the first shipments of stranded grain could leave Ukraine’s Black Sea ports within days, 50 tons of different humanitarian supplies, initially destined for another hard-hit location, have been delivered to the severely affected Government-controlled settlement of Stepnohirsk.
Due to the ongoing hostilities, UN and humanitarian partners had been unable to deliver any assistance to non-government-controlled areas since the start of the war.
In this instance, the town of Polohy, could not be reached, the UN humanitarians in Ukraine, said in statement on Monday.
According to the Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine, Osnat Lubrani, medicine, food, blankets and supplies for children were delivered to Stepnohirsk and will also be sent to the neighbouring town of Prymorske.
About 5,000 people in urgent need would benefit from the items delivered.
Lubrani called on all the parties to the conflict to allow life-saving aid to reach those most in need.(NAN)