Following intense fighting over the last couple of days around the town of Avdiivka, Donetsk region, more than 17,000 people – including 2,500 children – are facing freezing weather without any heating, electricity or water.
UNICEF reports that six schools and four kindergartens have also closed in the area due to the violence, putting education on hold and children under further stress, as they lose the much needed routine and stability of going to school.
The electricity and water infrastructure in Avdiivka was extensively damaged on 29 and 30 January. The resulting power outages disabled water pumping from a backup reservoir that serves the town and on which the heating system relies.
In temperatures plummeting to minus 17 degrees Celsius (1 degree Fahrenheit), the situation could have catastrophic consequences for the residents of Avdiivka.
“Not only are the lives of thousands of children in Avdiivka, and on all sides of the conflict, at risk, but to make matters worse, the lack of water and electricity means that homes are becoming dangerously cold and health conditions deteriorating as we speak,” said Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine.
“UNICEF and partners call for safe access to carry out immediate repairs to the damaged water and electricity infrastructure to prevent further suffering,” she added.
The water supply to other towns and villages in the Donetsk region has also stopped after the power supply to the Donetsk Filtration Station was cut on 29 January.
The filtration station provides water to approximately 400,000 people. Water is now rationed and there is a possibility that the piped household water supply will stop altogether.
Photo courtesy: UNICEF