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Eastern Ukraine: Up to 1.3 million people have little or no access to water – UNICEF

© UNICEF/NYHQ2015-0279/Filippov
On 20 February 2015, volunteers unload bottled water in Debaltsevo, Donetsk Oblast

GENEVA/KYIV, Ukraine, 14 July 2015 – Up to 1.3 million children and adults are facing a serious water crisis, due to damaged or destroyed water lines and acute water shortages, as the ongoing violence continues in eastern Ukraine, UNICEF said today.

“Water is one of the most acute needs of children and adults in eastern Ukraine. Up to 1.3 million people in conflict-affected areas in Donetsk and Luhansk regions are estimated to have difficulties in getting safe drinking water,” said Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative to Ukraine.

Over 470,000 people, including 118,000 children, are also facing serious problems in accessing safe water in non-government-controlled areas of Luhansk region. Many families have to rely on trucking or travel to neighbouring villages to get water from functioning wells.

Mariupol, a city of 500,000 in Donetsk region under government control, is no longer receiving water from the Severskiy Donets-Donbass water channel, which has been damaged by shelling. The city is now reliant on a water-storage reservoir that is rapidly depleting. With little rain in recent weeks and hot summer temperatures, conditions are becoming increasingly difficult for residents. The risk of waterborne disease is likely to increase as people are unable to store or transport water safely.

“UNICEF and its partners have helped over 550,000 people in Donetsk and Luhansk regions to access safe water since January, but more humanitarian partners are needed for the emergency water and sanitation response. No children and families should have to risk their lives in order to access one of life’s basic necessities for survival,” Barberis said.

More than 54,000 people, including children, have also received essential hygiene supplies since January 2015.

UNICEF is appealing for US$55.8 million to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of children and families in eastern Ukraine for 2015. To date, just $10.48 million has been received, leaving a funding gap of 81 per cent. Without significant and immediate funding, UNICEF will not be able to continue providing safe water to crisis-affected families.

Since the beginning of the conflict in March 2014, almost 1.4 million people have been internally displaced in Ukraine, including at least 174,000 children. The humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine has affected more than 5 million people, including 1.7 million children.


Multimedia assets from Ukraine are available at: http://uni.cf/1GHuyfW

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF in Ukraine and its work visit: www.unicef.org/ukraine. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For further information, please contact:

Christophe Boulierac, UNICEF Geneva, +41 799 639 244, cboulierac@unicef.org

Veronika Vashchenko, UNICEF Kyiv, +38 044 254 2439, vvashchenko@unicef.org

Kristen Elsby, UNICEF Geneva, +41 79 938 8273, kelsby@unicef.org






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