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UN aid chief to visit Kherson on Ukraine trip amid power outages


Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator attends a briefing for the launch of the humanitarian appeals in support of the people of Ukraine at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths arrived in Ukraine on a four-day trip on Monday as officials raced to repair energy facilities hit by Russian air strikes that have caused winter power outages.

The under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator will visit the southern city of Mykolaiv as well as the frontline city of Kherson, which was liberated last month, the United Nations said.

“Griffiths will see the impact of the humanitarian response and new challenges that have arisen as infrastructure damage mounts amid freezing winter temperatures,” it said.

In Kherson, which was recaptured from Russian forces on Nov. 11 after about nine months of Russian occupation, Griffiths will see how warm shelters are being set up for residents in case they are left without heating, power or water, it said.

It said in a statement that nearly 18 million people – around 40% of Ukraine’s population – need humanitarian aid.

Waves of Russian attacks on infrastructure are leaving “millions of people without means to heat their homes, have clean water or electricity, at the same time as a freezing winter sets in”, it said.