The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has appealed for $4.2bn in humanitarian aid for Ukraine in 2024.

The UN agency called on Monday for donors to provide the funds to support Ukrainian communities and refugees, as the war sparked by Russia’s invasion nears its second anniversary.

“Hundreds of thousands of children live in communities on the front lines of the war, terrified, traumatised and deprived of their basic needs,” said UN aid chief Martin Griffiths.

“That fact alone should compel us to do everything we can to bring more humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.”

“Homes, schools and hospitals are repeatedly hit, as are water, gas and power systems,” he added. “The very fabric of society is under attack with devastating consequences.”

As part of the appeal for funding, OCHA is asking for $3.1bn to help 8.5 million people in dire need of humanitarian aid this year. The UN agency is also seeking $1.1bn to support 2.3 million Ukrainian refugees and their host communities.

OCHA received just 67 percent of the $3.9bn for which it appealed last year. It said it has reduced its appeal for Ukraine in 2024 in view of other humanitarian crises around the globe, including in Gaza and Sudan, that also require urgent funding.

“The competition for funding is getting greater, there is no question about it,” Griffiths said. “As we go into 2024, the competition for funding is going to be more difficult than 2023.”

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