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NOVOTROITSKE, Ukraine, 7 March (UNHCR). Novotroitske became the first out of three crossing points in Donetsk region to receive technical assistance from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and partners. The transferred equipment will help to decrease the waiting time and alleviate suffering of tens of thousands of civilians crossing daily the dividing line in conflict-torn eastern Ukraine.

“With more than 8.5 million crossings of the contact line reported in 2016, freedom of movement in eastern Ukraine remains one of the key concerns for UNHCR. Our monitoring confirmed the checkpoints lack the capacity to process these large numbers of civilians and basic facilities for those who wait. This creates particular hardship for people with specific needs, especially elderly on the move,” explained Pablo Mateu, UNHCR Representative in Ukraine
The UNHCR project with a total budget of 3,500,000 UAH (130,000 USD) aims to improve conditions at the three crossing points in Donetsk region- Novotroitske, Mariinka and Mayorsk. Technical equipment, funded by the European Union Humanitarian Aid and other international donors, will help to receive more persons crossing the line of contact and decrease waiting times at the crossing points.

“Improving the conditions for civilian population’s movement at crossing points along the line of contact is a top priority for the European Union Humanitarian Aid Department. It is essential that civilians people move rapidly do not wait long hours in cold or under heat to reach safely their destination and access essential services. We will continue to support the efforts of UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies so that freedom of movement for civilians is facilitated in order to alleviate the suffering caused by the current arrangement,” said Samuel MARIE-FANON, Humanitarian Aid Expert, European Commission, Directorate-General for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

Technical assistance for every checkpoint consists of four modules equipped with computers and furniture for the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. In their turn, Border Guards Service committed to increase the number of its staff engaged in the verification procedures. The project also envisages installation of the new heated tents in the waiting areas, managed by the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.

“Ukrainian authorities are doing all possible to ensure that operation of the crossing points meets the expectation of our citizens. Our plans include restoration of the public transport across the contact line, improving processing capacity and ensuring safety of civilians at the check points, as well as providing access to the mobile internet and WIFI, establishing the hotline and setting up logistics centers to improve access to administrative services. We are grateful to all international partners for their assistance in removing the obstacles related to the crossing the line of contact. This technical equipment, provided by the UNHCR and funded by the EU humanitarian aid, will facilitate faster document verification, and thus will promote better capacity and conditions for people crossing the line,” highlighted Mr. Vadym Cherysh, Minister for Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons.

For additional information please contact Nina Sorokopud, Public Information Officer, UNHCR Ukraine: +380 50 310 1767, sorokopu@unhcr.org

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