International Water Day: Addressing the lack of drinking water in east Ukraine
Water security is one of the most urgent problems for communities living near the contact line in Donbas
On International Water Day, it is of utmost importance to draw public attention to the issue of providing forcibly displaced people with full access to water and necessary hygiene services, especially in the context of preventing the spread of coronavirus COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
Water security is one of the most urgent problems for communities living near the contact line in Donbas. Many of them do not have centralized water facilities, making wells their only source of drinkable water in the region.
Humanitarian mission “Proliska” with the support of UNHCR Ukraine is currently addressing the issue by executing numerous projects on purification, chlorination and delivery of water to local populations.
In the last two years, “Proliska” managed to restore five wells in the region: three in Kodema village (Bakhmut district, Donetska oblast) and two in Pivnichne village (Yasynivata district, Donetska oblast) and Novohryhorivka village (Volnovakha district, Donetska oblast).
Moreover, in April 2019, the humanitarian center “Proliska-Chasiv Yar” organized water delivery to the elderly and people with reduced mobility and disabilities residing in Pokrovske village (Troyitsky district, Luhanska oblast) as they saw water facilities shutdown after a water tank broke down.
Last year “Proliska-Volnovakha” organized six deliveries of 20L-bottles of water to ten pensioners living in a zone of conflict in the village of Vodyane (Volnovakha district, Donetska oblast).
In 2019, Novhorodske village (Donetska oblast) faced water problems as well. During the armed conflict, the “Horlivka-Toretsky” water pipeline was hit several times, which led to a constant lack of water access. Although water deliveries were organized, many people with reduced mobility and disabilities were unable to go and get water from the tanks themselves. The humanitarian center “Proliska-Toretsky” took matters in hand and delivered 44 liters of water to those in need.
Finally, this month, humanitarian center “Proliska-Avdiyivka” delivered around 7 tons of drinkable water to the 38 inhabitants of Opytne village (Yasynuvata district, Donetska oblast) near the contact line. The village was badly damaged during the conflict. Not a single house was left unharmed, and communications lines – gas, electricity, water, transport – were severed because of shelling. The humanitarian organization “People in need” delivered 1140 6L-bottles to locals. This supply of 90 liters per person should be enough for the next 2 months.
Water is life. Access to water is an important goal for the UN. On this day, we welcome all efforts from UNHCR Ukraine and partner organizations to provide free and unhampered access to water for all, including internally displaced persons.