WHO calls for the opening of a humanitarian corridor to Ukraine – POLITICO

The World Health Organization on Wednesday called for the opening of a humanitarian corridor to Ukraine, saying its pre-positioned supplies in the capital Kyiv are inaccessible.

“There is an urgent need to establish a corridor to ensure that humanitarian workers and supplies have safe and continuous access to reach those in need,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a briefing. Press.

A week after Russian troops invaded Ukraine, Kiev is under heavy shelling, desperate residents struggling to flee on the few trains still running, as Russian armored columns approach from the north. There is heavy fighting in the east and south of the country and cities, including Kharkiv, are under heavy bombardment.

The WHO says it cannot access medical supplies it had previously placed in the capital. A first shipment of 36 tonnes of supplies will arrive in Poland on Thursday.

At least three major oxygen plants in Ukraine have now closed, Tedros said, and the WHO is looking for ways to access medical oxygen from neighboring countries and deliver it safely.

The oxygen shortage is particularly difficult for hospitals that are isolated due to the fighting, said the head of the WHO office for Ukraine, Jarno Habicht. “In the current situation, it is difficult to find drivers willing to drive from some of the factories that still have reserves,” Habicht said.

There are around 2,000 people in Ukraine who need supplemental oxygen to survive, said Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies programme. “You need it when you need it,” Ryan said. “You can’t be put on a waiting list for oxygen; you can’t wait in line for oxygen.”

There could also be impending shortages of cancer drugs and insulin, which could lead to serious situations for people with certain types of diabetes, warned Adelheid Marschang, WHO emergency manager for its program. health emergency. WHO is seeking to establish a mechanism to monitor drug shortages and needs.

“People’s bodies and bones are shattered, lives are being lost and there is no health service available to provide lifesaving care and we cannot provide that health service at this time,” Ryan said. .


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