Aid groups unable to reach vulnerable communities in eastern Ukraine

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A girl waits with her mother to get hygienic supplies after leaving their home near Donetsk airport, Ukraine, to escape shelling. Photo: UNICEF Ukraine/Pavel Zmey

Security concerns, bureaucratic hurdles and other challenges are preventing aid agencies from reaching the most vulnerable people affected by conflict in eastern Ukraine.

That information comes from the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, which is sounding the alarm as winter approaches.

Government forces and pro-Russian rebels have been fighting in the region since April 2014.

Dianne Penn reports.

The UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, says "intense discussions" are being held to resolve the situation.

Some five million people in eastern Ukraine need assistance.

OCHA says the top priority is the estimated two million people living in areas along the so-called contact line between government forces and armed groups.

OCHA reports "positive steps" have been taken to engage the Ukraine government in facilitating access to vulnerable people.

However, it adds, aid agencies are concerned that "the window of opportunity" for preparing for winter is already closing.

OCHA says restricted access would mean they will be unable to provide sufficient supplies of critical items to help scores of needy people.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 49"

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