Eastern Ukraine: 1.4 million people without running water

Lviv, Ukraine, April 13, 2022 – After more than six weeks of conflict, the water and electricity networks are devastated, 1.4 Millions of people without access to running water in eastern Ukraine. Overall 4.6 Millions of people across the country are at risk of losing access to water.

No less than 20 Incidents against water infrastructure were recorded in eastern Ukraine. Intensified fighting in the east of the country and the widespread use of explosive weapons in populated areas threaten to further decimate the water supply system, which is now at risk of total collapse after eight years of low-intensity conflict in an already troubled network.

Power outages have shut down water pumps and blast damage to pipes disrupts water flow.

For children it is a matter of life and death

In Mariupol, thousands of people are forced to use unsanitary sources to find water. Major cities in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions also lack water and 340 000 more people will be deprived of water when a reservoir in Horlivka runs dry.

At the beginning of March, the water supply in the cities of Sumy and Chernihiv was severely disrupted, and the Kharkiv network was also severely affected. There is an urgent need to restore access to water and provide emergency supplies to these cities and other areas affected by the fighting.

Since the conflict began, the WASH group has confirmed that four water technicians were injured in Chernihiv and one in Kharkiv, adding to at least 35 water technicians killed or injured in Donetsk and Luhansk since 2014.

A year ago, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2573, recalling the obligation under international humanitarian law (IHL) for all parties to an armed conflict to protect civilian populations and civilian infrastructure, including water supplies. However, during the war in Ukraine, civilian infrastructure, including water, sewage and electricity networks, was destroyed, seriously impeding people’s access to essential services.

The WASH cluster calls on all parties to the conflict to avoid using explosive weapons in populated areas and to withdraw military equipment and personnel from positions close to civilian infrastructure.

Young children living in conflict zones have 20 are more likely to die from unsafe water-related diarrhea than from direct violence from war “, called Murat Sahin, UNICEF representative in Ukraine. “ Their access to water, wherever they are, must not be compromised by war. For children it is a matter of life and death “, added Murat Sahin.

UNICEF in action

The WASH cluster, led by UNICEF, has done it :

  • Provided generators and equipment Repair of damaged infrastructure for supplying water pumps and commissioning of the water supply system in Sumy and Chernihiv.
  • Provided 57.4 tons of liquefied chlorine for the Vodokanal water system in Kharkiv, which will purify water for a period of three weeks, and 4.5 Tons of liquefied chlorine gas for the operation of the Vodokanal in Uzhhorod. This ensures healthy water at 1.4 million people in Kharkiv and 140 000 in Uzhgorod, who have experienced an influx of displaced people.
  • Providing drinking water by tanker or bottled for more than 184 500 People in places where access to drinking water is severely restricted, including parts of Donetsk, Kharkiv, Luhansk, Sumy and Zakarpattia oblasts.

Notes for editors :
About the WASH group
The Global Water Sanitation and Hygiene Cluster or Global WASH Cluster (GWC) is a partnership of 32 Partners and aims to improve coordination and humanitarian assistance in the WASH sector. To learn more about the work of the Wash Cluster in Ukraine, click here.

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