Remarks at the OCHA Briefing on the Humanitarian Situation in Ukraine

Ambassador Lisa Carty
U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council
New York, NY
October 18, 2022


Thank you very much to all the OCHA colleagues: Ghada, Joyce, thank you for so much for bringing us together. Ambassador, thank you for being here. Denise, we really appreciate you bringing your firsthand perspectives. We had the pleasure of working together before in your previous assignment and I am so glad to see you in the role you are in now, leading the humanitarian response in Ukraine. We are very lucky to have you there. Thank you, Mr. Deputy Secretary for bringing the reality of what your country is enduring every day into this room and very clear in real terms for all of us.

Russia’s barrage of missile and drone attacks in recent days caused civilian casualties and damaged residential buildings and critical civilian infrastructure, including thermal power plants and electrical substations.

The fallout from recent attacks is compounding already critical levels of need. Nearly 14 million Ukrainians are displaced. Many lack adequate shelter as winter approaches.

We call on Russia to respect international humanitarian law and refrain from targeting civilians and civilian objects. We also note that it is imperative that humanitarian organizations have access to all areas of Ukraine to deliver life-saving assistance.

We commend the Government of Ukraine’s efforts to maintain the power and heating supply, and international partners for providing life-saving assistance to people in Ukraine and across the region. 

The United States has provided more than $1.5 billion in humanitarian support this year, and we will continue to assist those in need. 

Finally, I’s like to underscore the need to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The initiative has allowed over 7 million metric tons of grain to leave Ukraine, two-thirds of which has gone to the Global South. As the UN has pointed out: the initiative helps calm markets and limit food price inflation. In fact, the global Food Price Index has fallen since its spike at the start of the war, and wheat prices are back at pre-war levels.

At the same time, the United States and European Union have been undertaking strenuous efforts to help the private sector export food and fertilizer from both Russia and Ukraine. This has included making sure companies understand that sanctions do not apply to trade in agricultural commodities.

With global food insecurity on the rise, we cannot afford to lose the initiative’s critical and tangible benefits.

If there is time, I have a question: Joyce, you mentioned the very complicated circumstances of some of the most vulnerable, the disabled, the elderly. You highlighted this as well, Denise, and the need for long-term phyco-social support. Would be grateful to hearing more about how that is unfolding.

Thank you.