Denise Brown made the assessment at a meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday night, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
The UN official said: “The sheer depth of the humanitarian catastrophe [in Ukraine] is staggering.”
18 mln Ukrainians need humanitarian aid, 14 mln forced to flee homes
Brown told the UNSC: “Almost 18 million people – more than 40 percent of the entire Ukrainian population – now need humanitarian assistance, with 14 million forced to flee their homes, including 6.2 million internally displaced, and nearly 7.7 million refugees."
She added that according to UNICEF, “some 5.7 million school children have been affected” since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, including some 3.6 million school children who have had their educational facilities closed, as cited by PAP.
Moreover, there have been over 630 verified attacks on healthcare, depriving patients of access to medicines and treatment, the UN aid coordinator for Ukraine said, citing data compiled by the World Health Organisation.
Brown told ambassadors that the UN and the humanitarian community have developed a “separate, specific plan for the winter months, built at the oblast level in coordination with authorities” to address essential needs of the Ukrainian people.
This scheme includes repairing residential buildings in the front zone, supplying people with blankets, mattresses and clothing, as well as providing generators for schools and heating for hospitals, among other forms of assistance, according to officials.
It comes amid continuing Russian attacks on Ukraine’s civil infrastructure, including power and thermal plants, as temperatures are plummeting, reporters were told.
The UN aid coordinator said work was underway to ensure that Ukraine’s civilian population had a safe, decent and warm place to live for the winter months, the PAP news agency reported.
10 million Ukrainians need psychosocial support
Brown noted that together, more than 13 million people have been reached by UN humanitarians across Ukraine.
She told the UNSC that psychosocial trauma was emerging as "a further dimension to civilian suffering," with at least 10 million people set to need psychosocial support, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Health and the WHO.
The UN aid coordinator for Ukraine added: “This includes women and girls suffering sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence, children hearing warning sirens daily, families who have been separated, or people just trying to survive every day.”
Saturday is day 241 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Source: PAP, news.un.org, nytimes.com