Red Cross unable to reach besieged Ukrainian cities – EURACTIV.com

The biggest challenge for the Ukrainian Red Cross remains to reach those in need, especially in frontline areas such as Mariupol, where dozens of attempts to deliver humanitarian aid have failed.

“We lack ceasefire agreements to help the people,” said Maksym Dotsenko, director general of the Ukrainian Red Cross, at a press conference on Tuesday (March 29).

The problem is particularly evident in small towns occupied by Russian forces because “there is no free access there to help people”. No humanitarian aid can be given without permission to enter a city.

In order to know the needs of the population, the Ukrainian Red Cross receives lists from local authorities and humanitarian centers, as well as from the Ukrainian government.

“Right now, the main needs we are addressing are medicines and medical equipment, hygiene kits, power generators, heat guns and hospital equipment,” said Dotsenko.

“We are following the situation together with the state authorities and as soon as we see a possibility or a new opportunity to support people in these places, for example with humanitarian aid or to organize the evacuation of people, we take this opportunity,” he explained.

Since the Russian invasion began on February 24, the Ukrainian Red Cross has done more than just provide humanitarian aid. “It is the continuation and accompaniment of the humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians from places exposed to active hostilities”.

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Evacuations take place under fire

“We accompanied the evacuation of civilians in the cities of Sumy and Chernihiv […] we also helped evacuate people from Mariupol. And we continue this sphere of activity and the creation of humanitarian corridors in the Kharkiv and Kyiv regions, as well as in others, “said the director of the Ukrainian Red Cross Society.

There was an opportunity to evacuate people from Mariupol, even though humanitarian aid does not reach the city. None of the dozen attempts to ask Mariupol for help have been successful.

“Thank God there is an opportunity to evacuate people from Mariupol under fire. There are successful evacuation cases. But, unfortunately, the situation with the delivery of humanitarian aid to Mariupol is reversed, “explained Dotsenko.

He stressed that the evacuation to Mariupol is taking place under fire. “People are risking their lives under fire and trying to evacuate to a safer place,” Dotsenko said.

Unfortunately, he added, “the possibility of evacuating from Mariupol is not due to the green or humanitarian corridors, [es ist] not the result of a truce or an agreement between the two parties “.

2000 tons of humanitarian aid delivered

Despite the difficult conditions, the Ukrainian Red Cross has assisted more than 400,000 people and facilitated the evacuation of 80,000 people since the invasion began. In addition, over 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid was delivered to those affected.

The Red Cross has also provided first aid and psychological support to those in need “to at least somehow maintain their mental health,” Dotsenko said.

He went on to say that people with reduced mobility who are unable to move independently and seriously ill people also receive assistance in the form of transport assistance to reception centers.

[Bearbeitet von Zoran Radosavljevic]

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