While the focus is on the impeachment hearings of President Trump and his shameful actions, we can't forget the innocent suffering people in Ukraine. There is a major humanitarian crisis unfolding there. We must increase funding for relief of Ukraine's war victims.

The conflict in Eastern Ukraine with the government fighting Russian backed rebel groups is taking a heavy toll on civilians. They need our help.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says "the conflict has uprooted around 1.4 million people, while many more endure cold, hunger, hardship and the threat of sudden death at home." Agriculture has been severely damaged leading to food shortages and increased prices.

War victims are also experiencing severe mental trauma because of the fighting.

The UN warns that in Ukraine $52 million "is urgently needed to address most acute and time-critical humanitarian needs ahead of winter."

But relief for Ukraine has lacked donations. A UN report on Ukraine said, "the discontinuation of food assistance to over 30,000 vulnerable people is one of the many examples of the impact that underfunding has had."

Catholic Relief Services says the lack of funding for humanitarian aid in Ukraine has made it difficult for relief agencies to hang on there. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) calls the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine as one of the world's most ignored.

The NRC explains, "Civilians living along the contact line, which separates government-controlled areas and non-government-controlled areas, are considered the most vulnerable. Here, employment is scarce, medical care is difficult to access, and many don’t have adequate food, shelter or heating."

While needs are high in Ukraine and across the globe, Trump has called for reductions in humanitarian aid in his first three budget proposals. This harms relief efforts in Ukraine and many other emergencies like Yemen and Afghanistan. Save the Children said earlier this year it "condemns the president’s third consecutive budget request seeking to make deep cuts to international development, diplomatic, and humanitarian assistance."

If anything good comes out of this impeachment process, perhaps it can be increased attention to the suffering in Ukraine. We can do more to help them get the food and peace they need to survive.

President Trump may have only cared about the Ukraine as a source of getting dirt on his political rivals. But the American people care about the well-being of Ukraine’s people. We will do what it takes to help bring them relief as we did when famine has struck there in the past.

William Lambers is an author who partnered with the U.N. World Food Program on the book "Ending World Hunger". For more information, visit www.williamlambers.com.

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Opinion Editor

Opinion editor for The Billings Gazette.