“The lives of tens of thousands, including women, children and the elderly, are at stake in Mariupol,” Amin Awad said in a statement. “We now need a pause in the fight to save lives. The longer we wait, the more lives are at stake. They should be able to evacuate safely now, today. Tomorrow it may be too late.”
Easter at war
Almost a week ago, UN Secretary-General António Guterres had called for a humanitarian pause in hostilities as Orthodox Christians celebrate Holy Week.
on Easter day, Awad reiterated the UN chief’s call to end the fighting to allow life-saving supplies to Mariupol and other areas under attack and to allow the departure of those willing to leave amid reports that the situation in Mariupol is deteriorating dramatically.
“At a time when the religious holidays of Orthodox Easter, Passover and Ramadan rarely align, it is the time to focus on our common humanity and put aside divisions,” he said.
Humanitarian situation worsens
According to UN agencies, the humanitarian situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate as a result of ongoing hostilities mainly in the eastern and southern oblasts.
More than a quarter of Ukraine’s population is currently internally or to neighboring countries displaced.
The latest assessment by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) shows that about 60 percent of the displaced are women, and more than half of the displaced have indicated a need for food.
The World Food Program (WFP) has warned that more than a quarter of displaced families with children under the age of five has reported problems feeding their children since the beginning of the conflict.
As hostilities intensify, the basic needs of people stranded in hard-to-reach areas increase, while also hampering efforts to establish humanitarian corridors to both evacuate civilians and deliver life-saving aid.
The most urgent and critical needs are in these locations with high levels of insecurity, disrupted food supply and shopping capacity, and limited or sporadic humanitarian access, such as Mariupol.