Some towns in Ukraine don’t have more than three or four days’ worth of food, the aid agency Mercy Corps said Tuesday, warning that the humanitarian system in the country “is entirely broken down.”
“One of our biggest concerns right now is the vulnerability of the supply chain. We know that most municipalities in areas seeing the most intense fighting don’t have more than three to four days’ worth of essentials like food,” said Mercy Corps’ Ukraine humanitarian response adviser Steve Gordon, who is in Kharkiv, the site of some of the heaviest fighting since the Russian invasion.
At least 70% of the population of Kharkiv and Sumy is entirely dependent on aid, he estimated.
“These are areas like Sumy, with 800,000 people nearly entirely reliant right now on aid shipped in on a day-to-day basis. Cities need at least a month’s worth of food, stored in different warehouses in case they come under fire,” Gordon said.
“The reality is that right now the humanitarian system is entirely broken down. We are not seeing a high-functioning, coordinated international aid effort covering the whole of Ukraine like we often see in other conflict zones,” he said. “While the United Nations is getting aid into some areas, we’ve seen through the failure of humanitarian corridors that many people are only surviving through support from small Ukrainian civil society organization like church groups, which are coordinating essential deliveries such as food and medical supplies. These amazing volunteer networks are working as hard as they can but they are stretched to the max.”