Russia’s war on Ukraine weighs heavily on civilian health services: UN

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GENEVA: Nearly five months into Russia’s war on Ukraine, the civilian population is facing deadly landmines littering their country, cancer and disrupted medical services, with one in three people in food insecurity situation, UN officials said on Friday.

“One in three households in Ukraine is food insecure, rising to one in two in parts of the east and south,” said Tomson Phiri, spokesman for the United Nations World Food Program ( WFP) in Geneva during a UN press conference.

“WFP rapidly scaled up its assistance through food or cash distributions in Ukraine, reaching 2.6 million people in June, and continues to work with partners to reach areas close to the front lines.”

Anadolu Agency reported that Phiri said that in these areas, fighting prevents people, especially the elderly and families with children, from accessing food as he assesses the impact of the war, as well as others among the 1,400 members of United Nations agencies in Ukraine.

At the same press conference, Dr Dorit Nitzan spoke by telephone from the Odessa center of the World Health Organization with colleagues from WFP and other United Nations agencies.

She is part of the WHO mission in Odessa and Mykolaiv, which Russian forces are attacking.

“Our focus is the health needs of affected populations – people whose physical and mental health has been challenged and deteriorated due to the Russian invasion and its aftermath,” Nitzan said.

“People who weren’t able to receive early cancer diagnosis and treatment now have much more advanced tumors and serious disease.”

She said some of the people who weren’t able to receive medicine had failing hearts or suffered strokes.

Nitzan also spoke of people with diabetes who have been unable to get treatment and whose disease is now severe, as well as premature babies, pregnant women and the elderly who are “very vulnerable”.

“Other people have suffered the terrible effects of missiles, attacks and other bombardments,” Nitzan said, while others have “burns and eye damage, leaving people permanently or partially blind. “.

Nitzan added: “Noise and shelling damage hearing and landmines have caused amputations. And, of course, there’s the fear, grief, and uncertainty that weighs on mental health.

“In Ukraine, landmines are everywhere,” she said.

The Halo Trust, an organization engaged in demining around the world, noted last week that Ukraine’s state emergency services said 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 square miles) of the country needed to be cleared.

This area is equivalent to Italy or the US state of Arizona.

Nitzan said there were increasing reports of people having limb amputations.

She added: “It’s just amazing; youngsters sometimes stray from the road and are hit hard.

“And it’s not just the amputated legs; sometimes you see damage to hips and entire intestines. It’s just awful.”-Bernama

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