Donors race to get generators, other aid to hard-hit Ukraine

Dec 7, 2022, 5:01 AM | Updated: 5:12 am
FILE - Local residents gather near a generator to charge their mobile devices in an area controlled...

FILE - Local residents gather near a generator to charge their mobile devices in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, Friday, April 22, 2022. When Russian forces two months ago launched a military campaign against infrastructure in Ukraine, it opened an urgent second front far from the contact line: Along power lines, water mains, and heating systems, and in places like homes, schools, offices and churches. (AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov, File)

(AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov, File)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — When Russian forces launched a military campaign against infrastructure in Ukraine nearly two months ago, they opened a front that carried the war along power lines, water mains and heating systems to homes, schools, offices and churches.

The government in Kyiv and the Western countries that have backed it with billions in military aid now are scrambling along with the United Nations and aid groups to get blankets, insulation, generators, medical supplies, cash and more essentials into the invaded country as winter looms.

Millions of Ukrainians are without regular access to heat, electricity and water in sub-freezing temperatures, Martin Griffiths, who heads the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday. Some have no access at all, he said.

“In Ukraine today, the ability of civilians to survive is under attack,” Griffiths said.

Despite a swift response and a high commitment from donors to a U.N. aid appeal, the needs are changing fast — and swelling. Much has been made of the need for diesel generators whose buzzing motors create stopgap electricity for cellphone towers, restaurants and especially hospitals, which are the Ukrainian government’s highest priority.

Sporadic electricity has widespread impacts. It deprives people of warmth from electric space heaters, steady light in the evenings and power for the millions of electronic devices and computers in a highly digitized country — and thus for livelihoods.

Strikes that disable deliveries of gas cut off the flames for furnaces and stoves. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko advised the capital’s residents to consider moving temporarily to rural areas, where basics like wood to burn for heat are more plentiful.

In the most desperate, hard-hit cities, some residents resort to scooping up dirty water from puddles in the street while water systems are temporarily disabled.

Saviano Abreu, a spokesperson for U.N.’s humanitarian affairs office’s operation in Ukraine, said it pulled together hundreds of generators starting back in June, aware of the country’s harsh winters.

“With this situation and people living in damaged houses, we did know back then that we would have problems with heating, water and electricity, but not at this scale,” Abreu said, noting that supply chain issues posed obstacles to securing more equipment.

“In the neighboring countries around Ukraine, it’s already not available, so we bring it from much farther at this point,” he said.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said last week that it would roll out its “largest cash assistance program in history” in Ukraine, totaling $1.7 billion for 6.3 million people. It said the experience in other countries has shown distributing money directly to people to buy food, clothing and other basics is an effective strategy.

The U.N. Development Program is taking a different, longer-term approach. It’s seeking to fill requests from Ukraine’s government for technical equipment like power transformers, transformer substations, high-frequency stoppers, high-voltage inputs, surge arresters, industrial gas turbines and other items to help restore the electricity grid and energy systems.

“Together with the World Bank, (we’re) doing an assessment across Ukraine of all the damages and needs that have resulted from this targeting of the energy infrastructure,” Jaco Cilliers, the program’s acting resident representative in Ukraine, said. “We are in the process of putting that together, which includes obviously the larger-scale equipment that would be needed for the restoration.”

“It’s a work in progress,” he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week announced $53 million in bilateral aid to help Ukraine acquire “critical electricity grid equipment” — on top of another $55 million for emergency energy sector support, such as for generators.

The European Union last month said it had made available 523 million euros (about $550 million) for humanitarian aid for Ukraine, and the United States has pledged $1.2 billion to an appeal by the U.N. humanitarian coordination agency.

“EU governments should now ensure that the announced aid actually reaches Ukraine as quickly as possible, without the many months of delay of previous packages,” said Christoph Trebesch, who leads a team behind the “Ukraine Support Tracker” at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy in Germany.

A spokesperson for the EU’s executive commission said in an e-mail that over one-quarter of the funds the bloc made available for humanitarian aid has been allocated, mostly for a “winterized shelter response.”

The EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism also has shipped in fire trucks, ambulances, de-mining equipment, food supplies, mobile hospitals, excavators, and portable, prefabricated Bailey bridges, the spokesperson said.

The wish list of United24, a campaign launched by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to secure private donations, is seeking ambulances, anesthesia machines, and over 7,800 “modular external fixators” – a medical device that helps broken bones heal properly.

Donors have come through in ways large and small: the German city of Dortmund just finished shipping a third batch of support to the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, including vans, trucks, and other vehicles. From the small British town of Hertford, a truck makes a delivery every couple of months, packed with medical supplies, food and — right now — Christmas gifts for children.

And despite Ukraine’s massive needs, there is too much of some kinds of aid. The Help Ukraine Center, a group of volunteers that brings in aid through its main warehouse in neighboring Poland, appealed to donors: “NO MORE CLOTHES PLEASE.” The center is shifting its focus to medical products, food and hygiene products.

Erik Heinonen, who works on the response of the Catholic Relief Services charity in Ukraine, said small items like a propane stove can have a huge impact.

“If you’re a mother with small children, you’re concerned about, you know, heating up food,” he said. “‘It would be great to give my children a bath.’ … so, like the very basics of just getting through your day.”

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              FILE - People collect water from a Dnipro river in Kherson, Ukraine, on Nov. 15, 2022. When Russian forces two months ago launched a military campaign against infrastructure in Ukraine, it opened an urgent second front far from the contact line: along power lines, water mains, and heating systems, and in places like homes, schools, offices and churches. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)
            
              FILE - This photo shows a city center during a blackout after a Russian rocket attack in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Nov. 23, 2022. When Russian forces two months ago launched a military campaign against infrastructure in Ukraine, it opened an urgent second front far from the contact line: along power lines, water mains, and heating systems, and in places like homes, schools, offices and churches. (AP Photo/Andrew Kravchenko, File)
            
              FILE - Pakistan Air Force personnel load humanitarian aid material into a C-130 plane for Ukraine at Nur Khan airbase, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on June 3, 2022. When Russian forces two months ago launched a military campaign against infrastructure in Ukraine, it opened an urgent second front far from the contact line: along power lines, water mains, and heating systems, and in places like homes, schools, offices and churches. (AP Photo, File)
            
              FILE - Employees load Swiss Armed Forces relief supplies for the Ukrainian population onto a truck at the Army Logistics Center in Othmarsingen, Switzerland, on March 2, 2022. When Russian forces two months ago launched a military campaign against infrastructure in Ukraine, it opened an urgent second front far from the contact line: along power lines, water mains, and heating systems, and in places like homes, schools, offices and churches. (Michael Buholzer/Keystone via AP, File)
            
              FILE - Internally displaced from Kyiv Dr. Maxim Motsya with his family takes boxes filled with medical aid to send to soldiers on the frontlines, at an apartment given to them by a family member, in Lviv, western Ukraine, on April 3, 2022. When Russian forces two months ago launched a military campaign against infrastructure in Ukraine, it opened an urgent second front far from the contact line: along power lines, water mains, and heating systems, and in places like homes, schools, offices and churches. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty, File)
            
              FILE - Workers load packages of Israeli humanitarian aid to assist people caught up in the fighting in Ukraine, in Ben Gurion airport in Lod, Israel, on March 1, 2022. When Russian forces two months ago launched a military campaign against infrastructure in Ukraine, it opened an urgent second front far from the contact line: along power lines, water mains, and heating systems, and in places like homes, schools, offices and churches. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, File)
            
              FILE - Local resident Danylo prepares a generator during a blackout in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Nov. 18, 2022. When Russian forces two months ago launched a military campaign against infrastructure in Ukraine, it opened an urgent second front far from the contact line: along power lines, water mains, and heating systems, and in places like homes, schools, offices and churches. (AP Photo/Andrew Kravchenko, File)
            
              FILE -Ukrainians unpack a power generator before installing it at a bank branch in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Dec. 1, 2022. When Russian forces two months ago launched a military campaign against infrastructure in Ukraine, it opened an urgent second front far from the contact line: along power lines, water mains, and heating systems, and in places like homes, schools, offices and churches. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File)
            
              FILE - Local residents gather near a generator to charge their mobile devices in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces in Mariupol, Ukraine, Friday, April 22, 2022. When Russian forces two months ago launched a military campaign against infrastructure in Ukraine, it opened an urgent second front far from the contact line: Along power lines, water mains, and heating systems, and in places like homes, schools, offices and churches. (AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov, File)
            FILE - Volunteers Slavko Oleinik, of Framingham, Mass., left, and Victor Pishuk, of Newton, Mass., right, place medical supplies in boxes for shipment to Ukraine, on March 2, 2022, in Woburn, Mass. When Russian forces two months ago launched a military campaign against infrastructure in Ukraine, it opened an urgent second front far from the contact line: along power lines, water mains, and heating systems, and in places like homes, schools, offices and churches. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File) FILE - Workers load pallets with boxes of medical supplies to aid Ukrainians from Dignity Health - Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles on  March 10, 2022. When Russian forces two months ago launched a military campaign against infrastructure in Ukraine, it opened an urgent second front far from the contact line: along power lines, water mains, and heating systems, and in places like homes, schools, offices and churches. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

AP

FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2019 file photograph, a Ford logo is displayed at a Ford dealership in Litt...
Associated Press

Ford returns to Formula One in partnership with Red Bull

Ford will return to Formula One as the engine provider for Red Bull Racing in a partnership announced Friday that begins with immediate technical support this season and engines in 2026. Red Bull powertrains and Ford will partner on the development of a hybrid power unit that will supply engines to both Red Bull and […]
8 hours ago
Peter Ellingwood delivers heating oil, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, in Farmington, Maine. On Friday, the...
Associated Press

US adds a surprisingly strong 517,000 jobs despite Fed hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s employers added a stunning 517,000 jobs in January, a surprisingly strong gain in the face of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive drive to slow growth and tame inflation with higher interest rates. The unemployment rate dipped to 3.4%, the lowest level since 1969. Friday’s government report added to the picture of a […]
8 hours ago
FILE - A Leopard 1 tank drives in Storkau, Germany, on May 19, 2000. Ukraine may be able to add old...
Associated Press

Ukraine may also get old Leopard 1 tanks from German stocks

BERLIN (AP) — Ukraine could add old Leopard 1 battle tanks from German defense industry stocks to deliveries of modern tanks that Berlin and other governments pledged last week to counter Russian forces in the war. German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit confirmed Friday that “export authorization has been granted” but declined to give numbers or […]
8 hours ago
FILE - President Barack Obama, left, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign the New START treat...
Associated Press

NATO urges Russia to respect nuclear pact with the US

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO called Friday on Russia to respect the only treaty it has with the United States aimed at keeping a lid on nuclear weapons expansion and urged Moscow to allow on-the-ground inspections of military sites to resume. The so-called New START Treaty was signed by Russia and the U.S. in 2010. It […]
8 hours ago
Associated Press

8 dead migrants recovered off Italian island of Lampedusa

MILAN (AP) — The bodies of eight migrants have been recovered by Italy’s coast guard during an operation overnight that also rescued 42 survivors in the central Mediterranean off the island of Lampedusa, authorities said Friday. Survivors reported that another two people died during the crossing, a newborn and a man who fell into the […]
8 hours ago
A Ukrainian serviceman controls a drone during a demonstration close to the border with Belarus, Uk...
Associated Press

Along Ukraine-Belarus border, a war of nerves — and drones

BELARUS BORDER, Ukraine (AP) — The reconnaissance drones fly several times a day from Ukrainian positions deep inside the thick forest that marches across the border into Belarus, a close Russian ally, scouring sky and land for signs of trouble on the other side. Ukrainian units are monitoring the 1,000-kilometer (650-mile) frontier of marsh and […]
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Donors race to get generators, other aid to hard-hit Ukraine