Two of the country’s main specialist hospitals for children and women were heavily damaged along with key energy infrastructure, reportedly killing dozens of civilians, including children, and injuring over 110.

Joyce Msuya, acting UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, told ambassadors in the Security Council on Tuesday, that the UN human rights office (OHCHR) was verifying the figures, while rescue workers, hospital staff and volunteers continue to clear rubble in search of those trapped under debris.

My heart goes out to all those affected,” she expressed, reiterating that hospitals have special protection under international humanitarian law.

Intentionally directing attacks against a protected hospital is a war crime, and perpetrators must be held to account.

‘Systematic attacks’

Ms. Msuya further noted that the recent incidents were part of a “deeply concerning pattern of systematic attacks” harming healthcare and other civilian infrastructure across Ukraine.

“Attacks have intensified since the spring of 2024,” she said.

As of 30 June, before the latest wave of missile strikes, OHCHR has verified 11,284 civilian deaths and 22,594 injured due to the conflict which began with Russia’s invasion of February 2022.

Furthermore, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) has verified 1,878 attacks affecting healthcare facilities, personnel, transport, supplies and patients.

Alongside the destruction of schools, homes and critical civilian infrastructure, “the consequences for the humanitarian situation in Ukraine are, of course, severe,” Ms. Msuya emphasized.

Humanitarian access

She highlighted that aid operations have been impacted by the attacks, with more than 14.6 million people – around 40 per cent of the Ukrainian population – requiring some form of humanitarian assistance.

She also voiced deep concern over humanitarian access to some 1.5 million people in Russian-occupied regions of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia.

“Like all others living close to the frontline in Ukraine, they undoubtedly require urgent access to healthcare and medicine, food, and clean drinking water. In accordance with international humanitarian law, it is imperative that impartial humanitarian relief be facilitated for all civilians in need,” Ms. Msuya said.

Resources needed

Ms. Msuya highlighted the need for more resources to keep humanitarian operations going.

“To sustain operations in an increasingly complex and dangerous environment, we urgently need donors to accelerate funding for the humanitarian response,” she said.

“All the more so as another winter approaches amid no sign of an easing of hostilities or their impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Doctor describes ‘real hell’ under fire

Volodymyr Zhovnir, a cardiac surgeon and anaesthesiologist at the children’s hospital, described the scene to the ambassadors when their facility in Kyiv was struck on Monday.

“At 10:42 AM we felt a powerful explosion, the ground shook and the walls trembled, both children and adults screamed and cried from fear and wounded from pain…it was a real hell,” he said via video link.

According to news reports, two died when part of the Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital was hit.

He noted the serious long-term impact on Ukrainian children in need of medical care who are caught up in the fighting, alongside the long-term psychological impact.

Mr. Zhovnir underscored that striking children’s hospitals where they are treated for cancer and other deadly diseases “is not just a war crime, it is far beyond the limit of humanity”.  

More coverage to follow…

Source of original article: United Nations (news.un.org). Photo credit: UN. The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of Global Diaspora News (www.GlobalDiasporaNews.com).

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