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Ukraine’s humanitarian disaster ‘tip of the iceberg’—WHO


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A emblem is pictured on the headquarters of the World Well being Group (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 25, 2020. REUTERS FILE PHOTO

GENEVA — The humanitarian disaster unleashed thus far by Russia’s month-long battle in Ukraine is simply the tip of the iceberg, the World Well being Group warned on Wednesday.

The UN well being company additionally referred to as for a cease to assaults on well being care services, saying it has verified at the least 64 such strikes.

“The issues we face thus far… are actually the tip of an iceberg of want,” WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan mentioned.

“And there’s going to should be an extra, large scaling up of help inside Ukraine within the coming weeks, as a result of I’ve by no means, myself, seen such complicated wants, and so rapidly in a disaster that has developed so quick.”

“We’ve got reached possibly, for as soon as, an applicable stage of horror at what’s taking place in Ukraine,” he mentioned, citing the Russian siege of the southern port metropolis of Mariupol, the place tens of 1000’s of civilians are thought to stay trapped with no water, meals or electrical energy.

With 3.6 million Ukrainians having fled the nation, an estimated 6.5 million internally displaced, and an extra 12 million affected by the battle, roughly half the inhabitants was being impacted by the battle, he mentioned.

“That’s an unbelievable, shameful statistic 4 weeks into this invasion,” he instructed a press convention.

The WHO had obtained simply $9.6 million of the $57.5 million required for the following three months in Ukraine.


There have been at the least 64 confirmed assaults on well being care, with extra within the technique of being verified.

“Assaults on well being should cease. Well being techniques, services and well being staff usually are not — and may by no means be — a goal,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned.

Ryan mentioned that in Mariupol, even trying to get somebody to a hospital had grow to be a life-threatening expertise.

“The horror to sit down and watch family members doubtlessly die since you can’t take them to healthcare,” he mentioned.

“That in itself is an assault on healthcare: by terrifying individuals to the purpose the place they can’t transfer to get water, meals, healthcare.

“That is dehumanising at a stage that could be very onerous to clarify.”

Tedros mentioned the WHO was involved for the integrity and security of nuclear and chemical services in Ukraine, and urged all sides to minimise the hazard of a catastrophic accident.

Ryan mentioned {that a} battle occurring round such services created a “very excessive stage of threat” to sustaining security.

“There may be one other apparent layer to this, which is the horrific potential that weapons might be used, which can be both chemical or nuclear in nature,” he added.

“It’s unconscionable even to suppose that that might be the case.”

Nonetheless, he mentioned: “We can be able to help the medical implications of any intentional use of such weapons.”


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