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No humanitarian catastrophe in eastern Ukraine, UNHCR official

Posted on Aug 28 2014 | IANS

Kiev, Aug 27 : There is no ground to declare a "humanitarian catastrophe" in eastern Ukraine, a senior UN official said Wednesday.

"This is not a humanitarian catastrophe. During humanitarian disasters, people die of hunger, coldness and lack of drinking water," Xinhua quoted the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) regional representative in Ukraine, Oldrich Andrysek as saying.

Describing the situation in Ukraine's Lugansk and Donetsk regions as "big problems", Andrysek noted that the number of refugees from the war-torn area has increased recently.

According to UN estimates, around 175,000 people left the conflict areas and have found shelters in calm Ukrainian regions since the unrest began in mid-April.

In early August, the UNHCR estimated that about 117,000 asylum seekers have been displaced inside Ukraine as a result of the conflict in the east.

The four months of fighting in the region has claimed over 2,000 lives and injured 4,390 people.

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