TALLINN - The Estonian Refugee Council (ERC) has signed a cooperation agreement with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to provide cash assistance to over 60,000 people in four regions in northeastern Ukraine.
WFP has allocated 12.5 million euros of support for this purpose, which will be delivered to the people in need of help under the coordination of the Estonian Refugee Council's local team.
"We were the first humanitarian organization to start providing cash assistance in eastern Ukraine already on March 2. Cash assistance remains the preferred way for helping the Ukrainian people as it is rapid, efficient and dignified. While so far, we've been providing aid using the resources donated by the kind people of Estonia, we can now significantly increase the volume of the aid program in cooperation with the World Food Program," head of the Estonian Refugee Council Eero Janson said.
Since the outbreak of war, the Estonian Refugee Council has supported 7,000 households, or some 21,000 people in the regions of Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kyiv and Sumy, with attention having also paid to the regions of Zhytomyr, Mykolaiv and Chernihiv. The aid by the World Food Program focuses on the Kharkiv, Sumy, Chernihiv and Kyiv regions. Support to other regions will continue with help from Estonian donors.
"When the people who have received support from us hear that it is ordinary people from small Estonia helping Ukraine in this way, they are very surprised and grateful. We support people who are in the most difficult circumstances, who have had to abandon their homes or who are trapped in a city on the front line with several children and want to get to a safe place. People use this money to cover their basic needs -- for food, water, hygiene products and gasoline," said Tamara Ogorodova, head of the Ukrainian representation of the Estonian Refugee Council and the ERC's partner organization Unity for the Future.
WFP's cash assistance is paid for three months with 2,220 hryvni, or around 70 euros, disbursed per person each month. Cash assistance is the fastest and most efficient way for supporting the civilian population in areas where banking systems and markets remain functional, according to the UN.
In addition to cash assistance, the ERC has also provided medical equipment, food, generators and other supplies to ten hospitals in eastern Ukraine and delivered blankets and other essential items to people in bomb shelters in Zaporizhzhia and Kharkiv.
The Estonian Refugee Council has been providing humanitarian aid in Ukraine since 2014. The ERC is an EU-certified humanitarian aid organization.