The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday that up to 1.3 million people have difficulties in getting safe drinking water in eastern Ukraine as the violence continues in the region.
"Up to 1.3 million people in conflict-affected areas in Donetsk and Luhansk regions are estimated to have difficulties in getting safe drinking water,” said UNICEF representative Giovanna Barberis in a written statement on Tuesday.
She also said “UNICEF and its partners have helped over 550,000 people in Donetsk and Luhansk regions to access safe water since January.”
“But more humanitarian partners are needed for the emergency water and sanitation response," she added.
According to the UNICEF, over 5 million people including 1.7 million children, have been affected from the humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that the UNICEF has asked for $55.8 million for only the urgent humanitarian needs of children and families in eastern Ukraine for 2015. Yet, less than one fifth of the amount have been received by the UNICEF so far.
Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads ever since months of pro-EU demonstrations in Kiev forced former pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych to flee the country in February 2014.
The political crisis led the autonomous government in Crimea, which is dominated by ethnic Russians, to declare independence from Ukraine and eventually be annexed by Russia following a referendum a month later.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine caused its relations with the United States and the European Union to reach their worst since the end of the Cold War era.
The West accuses Russia of supporting the separatist groups in eastern Ukraine, providing them weapons, while Russia denies the claims.
Nearly 1.4 million people have been internally displaced in Ukraine since the conflict began in March 2014. According to the UNICEF, at least 174,000 of them are children.
The conflict between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists claimed over 6,000 lives since April 2014.