The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday that it has distributed food vouchers to 10,000 internally displaced people in northern Donetsk as part of an emergency operation to feed 120,000 people over the next six months.
"The families, mainly displaced because of the ongoing fighting in the region, can redeem the one-off vouchers worth USD 45 from local shops in the area," said Elisabeth Byrs, senior WFP media officer in a press briefing in the UN office in Geneva.
"This initial round of food voucher distribution has injected close to half a million dollars into the economy of local host communities." So far, the Government of Ukraine's State Emergency Services has registered more than 450,000 displaced people, while it is estimated that more families are displaced but have not yet registered.
The majority of vulnerable people are staying in collective shelters or with other families - many of them left their homes quickly with limited or no resources and are unable to access their bank accounts or entitlements. This leaves them struggling to meet basic needs - especially food, she added.
Throughout the eastern region affected by the conflict, access to food continues to be a priority concern. With high unemployment, lack of available hard currency, growing inflation and increased food prices, it is becoming increasingly difficult for families to keep sufficient, nutritious food on the table. With the winter period, the situation is expected to worsen.
Since early September WFP has reached more than 30,000 vulnerable individuals in eastern Ukraine. This includes distributions of mostly ready-to-eat food parcels.