Safe water supplies offer lifeline to families in Ukraine
Many people living in the city of Mykolaiv now have access to clean drinking water, thanks to UNICEF and partners
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The city of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine is among many cities that are paying the price for months of devastating war. Since April, millions of families who live here have been left without safe drinking water, as a result of damaged water pipes. Critical infrastructure – including a bread factory – was at risk.
But now, thanks to water treatment plants set up by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), with the support of the European Union, there is hope.
"We drilled a borehole with our own funds, but unfortunately we couldn't use this water for our technological process,” says Serhiy Tyulyukov, the deputy director of the bread factory. “We also had to purify this water, although our plant couldn't buy the required expensive equipment for that.”
UNICEF donated a water purifying station to the bread factory, under the condition that it provided the neighbourhood with drinking water.
"After a full installation of this equipment provided by UNICEF, our plant delivered more than 500 m³ of water to city residents,” says Serhiy, smiling.
With its access to clean water restored, the factory works uninterrupted and produces 30 tons of bread and flour products every day. This is later delivered to stores in Mykolaiv, as well as smaller towns and villages in the region. Bread is crucial here, as food supplies are often disrupted due to constant shelling.
For the people living in the neighbourhood, where the bread factory is located, access to drinking water has become a lifeline. They can now collect potable water twice a day, from 8 to 10 a.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m.
Ihor, 60, is one of the many people who come to collect purified water every day. He says that he consumes around three litres per day. Before the UNICEF installation, he was forced to buy water or search for supplies in other Mykolaiv neighbourhoods, which can be difficult for people without personal transport.
"It has become much easier now,” says Ihor. “There is no queue and it's close to me. You just come and collect it. And the water quality is good.”
Another UNICEF water purification station can be found at an emergency hospital in one of the largest areas of the city. Purified water is available every day.
Since February 24, UNICEF has provided access to safe water for 3.5 million people by delivering water treatment chemicals and equipment to municipal water services. In partnership with local organisations, UNICEF regularly delivers bottled water to collective centres for internally displaced people and critical infrastructure. In addition, more than 740,000 people have received vital WASH supplies.