In eastern Ukraine 4 million people are at risk of not having water
We call on both parties to the conflict in eastern Ukraine to protect civilian water infrastructure, which was damaged 135 times in 2017 alone. Around 3 million people were left without water throughout the year. In 2018, 4 million people are at risk.
"As shelling is constant, blackouts are frequent. When there is no power, you can’t pump water. We fetch it from the well and save as much as we can. I often wash the dishes without soap, so that I can water my seedlings,” says Elena from the village of Vodiane near the line of contact in eastern Ukraine. She is one of 4 million people who are at risk of having no water supply.
All along the almost 500 km-long contact line, fighting, shelling, and shooting are still a daily reality in 2018. Critical water infrastructure, providing water to people on both the government and non-government controlled areas, is regularly hit and damaged. Some pipes and pumping stations are regularly hit by shells, explosions, and bullets.
The main channel crosses the line of contact supplying Donetsk city, before again crossing the line to supply cities further south such Pokrovsk, Dokuchaievsk, and Mariupol. This single water system supplies water to more than 3 million people.
Ukraine’s centralised heating systems also need water to operate. So, a lack of water doesn’t just mean people struggle to wash and drink, they can’t keep buildings warm in the brutal winter months.
Critical civilian water infrastructure must be protected by all parties to the conflict to safeguard the civilian population’s access to water, as outlined by International Humanitarian Law.
All people of Ukraine need access to water of adequate quantity and quality.