In armed conflicts damage of critical water infrastructure endangers the lives of millions of people every day.
Water supplies, sanitation, and heating systems are bound tightly together. In a protracted crisis, more children die from water-related diseases than from direct violence.
When the water stops in conflict-affected eastern Ukraine, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) helps provide bottles and truck-loads of clean water for people in need. With support from the Government of Germany, UNICEF worked with “Voda Donbasu” and partners to provide emergency assistance, carrying out critical repairs and upgrades to keep water running for more than 1.8 million people in 2018. In 2019, UNICEF and partners helped nearly a million people access clean water on both sides of the ‘contact line’.
Photos selected for this story feature the everyday challenges of water access in conflict-torn eastern Ukraine. They tell the stories of children who endure to get by. They also portray “water heroes” who work tirelessly to keep the water running.