Humanitarian Assistance for Ukraineby Representative Brendan F. Boyle
Posted on 2015-12-08
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Mr. BRENDAN F. BOYLE of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, as a proud
representative of a vibrant Ukrainian community in my district, I rise
to echo the requests of an extremely important and time-sensitive
meeting with the administration where the Ukrainian community pleaded
for necessary humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.
The global community continues to mourn the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris. These attacks remind us of the importance of our freedom and democracy in our turbulent world--these values must be actively safeguarded each day. Ukraine has been doing just that: fighting for its democracy and freedom each [[Page E1727]] day--denouncing Russian authoritarianism and combating Putin's aggression. Ukrainians are on the ground battling Russian separatists and thugs attempting to steal their democratic freedoms and undermine their self-governance.
As a result, Ukraine has suffered 7,883 deaths and 17,610 wounded citizens, according to OCHA's latest report. Five million Ukrainians have been affected by Russia's aggression. It is shocking that this number is hardly discussed. One million Ukrainians have fled Ukraine since 2014, and 1.5 million Ukrainians are considered Internally Displaced People. And these numbers continue to rise.
Ukraine needs more humanitarian assistance, and they need it now. Winter is fast approaching. Time is running out for winterization. Temperatures will plummet to 0 degrees and below. Eastern Ukraine has already experienced its first snowfall. We must act before it is too late.
Today, many Ukrainians have little to no access to humanitarian assistance because very few humanitarian partners have received authorization from the de facto authorities in Donetsk and Luhansk to operate. Restrictions on freedom of movement have resulted in civilians waiting 24 hours before they can cross checkpoints across the ceasefire line which will be impossible to do in the winter. Additionally, a recent assessment has discovered that 20 percent of Internally Displaced People reside in destroyed or damaged homes. These homes need rebuilding materials now as temperatures continue to drop.
These crucial humanitarian supplies need to be airlifted to Ukraine, and the United States should expand its efforts in helping to provide these supplies. It is becoming ever more critical by the day. Let's bring more humanitarian assistance to our partner in democratic freedom, Ukraine, immediately--before the death toll increases any higher.