UNICEF conducts assessment mission to flood affected areas of Western Ukraine
7-8 August 2008: A UNICEF team including UNICEF Representative Jeremy Hartley and Child Development Officer Elena Sherstyuk undertook a fact- finding mission to the Ivano-Frankivsk region of Ukraine, the hardest hit by the recent floods.
UNICEF joined a UN Country Team mission led by the UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine, and including the WHO Representative and UNDP experts.
The UNICEF team met with representatives of local state authorities, health care workers and families affected by the floods in seven settlements in the region.
In its assessment UNICEF focused on:
UNICEF found that the situation is well controlled by central, regional and local government authorities including the Ministry of Emergencies and the armed forces and that there are no urgent emergency humanitarian or disaster management assistance needs. The major needs, however, are in the prevention of water-borne diseases, the restoration of agricultural land and long-term environmental and development assistance. In addition, the field visits demonstrated that rural communities do not receive adequate support and major and urgent needs are there.
UNICEF will provide assistance to local health clinics and hospitals that were damaged by the floods, including with basic equipment and some minor repairs, and to help ensure that local communities have access to clean drinking water. All assistance will be provided in the framework of the UN system in Ukraine's consolidated response for medium and long-term recovery.
Other UN agencies response
WHO's assistance will be aimed at controlling the epidemiological situation and assessing drinking water quality while UNDP intend to provide small grants to the affected communities and support them through the network of existing projects within the Local Development Programme cluster and provide assistance in medium and longer term recovery and disaster prevention.
Heavy rains and storms in Central and Eastern Europe that started on 22-23 July and continued for several days resulted in rising high waters of the Rivers Dnister and Prut, leading to serious floods in Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary. As a result of the natural disaster 39 people are reported to have died in Ukraine alone.
The floods, perhaps the worst in Ukraine for 200 years, have affected six regions (oblasts) in the west of the country - Lviv, Zakarpattya, Chernivtsi, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil and Vinytsia. Total losses in these regions are estimated at UAH 3-4 billion (US$ 600-900 million). A total of 523 settlements and over 24,000 hectares of farmland were flooded and 360 bridges and 560 footbridges damaged.
For UN situation reports on floods in Western Ukraine, please visit http://www.un.org.ua/en/floods/