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WHO Director-General: Concerned by the escalating Ukrainian health crisis
WHO issues an emergency fund to buy medical supplies that are urgently needed
The World Health Organization (WHO), is deeply concerned about the health of people in Ukraine during this escalating crisis. It is essential that the health system continues to operate to provide essential care for people with all types of health issues. This includes COVID-19, cancer, diabetes, tuberculosis and mental issues.
All parties must take the greatest care to ensure that no one targets health facilities, workers or patients. We will continue to monitor such incidents and report them as part of WHO’s responsibility to protect health.
I also demand that humanitarian aid be delivered in a safe and sustained manner.
WHO has worked for many decades with the health authorities in Ukraine. We are familiar with the capabilities and needs of the country’s health system.
Today, I released another US$3.5 million from WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies. This money was used to purchase and deliver emergency medical supplies. After further needs assessments, this humanitarian health support will likely increase. This new support will complement the existing trauma and medical supplies that we have prepositioned in hospitals.
We will continue to provide care and support for the people of Ukraine that have been affected by this crisis.
Ukraine Crisis: Protecting civilians is ‘Priority Number One; Guterres releases $20M to support humanitarian aid
Despite an international diplomatic and UN-led effort to avoid military action in Ukraine, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin did exactly that. This triggered a storm of reactions.
“All Members shall refrain from using force or threat against the territorial integrity of any state or their political independence, or in any way inconsistent with the Purposes and purposes of the United Nations” he stated, quoting from the Charter.
He stated that using force against another country is “the rejection of the principles that each country has committed to uphold”, and that this applies to the current military offensive.
It is wrong. It is against the Charter. It is not acceptable. It is not irreversible,” the UN chief stated.
He repeated the appeal he made last night to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Stop the military operation. He reaffirmed his call to bring the troops home to Russia.
Toll for war
As the number of deaths increases and terror images in every corner of Ukraine become more common, the UN’s top official reminded everyone that they always pay the most.
The UN is increasing its humanitarian operations in Ukraine.
“Today Today I am announcing the allocation of $20 million from Central Emergency Response Fund to meet immediate needs ,” he said, noting that the UN and its humanitarian partners “are committed to staying and delivering, in order to support people in Ukraine during their time of crisis”.
Assistance to both sides
He told reporters that UN staff work on “both ends of the contact line”, providing humanitarian aid to those in need “regardless” of where or who they are.
He stressed that Protection of civilians must be priority number 1.
The UN chief reiterated that international humanitarian law and human rights law must be upheld. He also noted that the decisions made in the future “will shape the world and directly impact the lives of millions upon million of people”.
“In accordance with the Charter it’s not too late for this generation to be saved from the scourge war,” stated the Secretary-General. “We need peace.”
Priority Protection of civilians
There have been reports of military strikes in the vicinity of major cities with large populations such as Kharkiv and Kramatorsk.
“The protection and well-being of civilians must be a top priority. Explosive weapons should not be used in populated areas, stated the High Commissioner.
She demanded the full respect for international humanitarian law, including the four Geneva Conventions from 1949 and their first addition protocol of 1977, along with international human rights law.
The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission is still in the country. They will continue to monitor the situation and provide reports.
UNICEF: Do not harm children
The UN Children’s Fund ( UNICEF), also echoed Secretary-General’s appeal to an immediate ceasefire. It called on all parties concerned to honor their international obligations to children and ensure humanitarian agents can reach children in crisis quickly and safely.
Catherine Russell, UNICEF Executive Director, said that UNICEF calls on all parties not to attack essential infrastructure which children rely on. This includes water and sanitation systems as well as schools and health facilities.