Published On: 22.10.2018Categories: Uncategorized

The heating season has started, and about 3.6 million people in the east of the country are at risk of being left without heat and water supply every day. This will mean cold winter, bigger health risks and the impossibility of providing the basic rights of those who are already suffering from military conflict. Non-governmental organizations insist that the President immediately take measures to ensure that all Ukrainians, and in particular those who lives in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, can freely get their rights to water and heat. The petition is posted on the official site of the President of Ukraine.

In the Donbass, water shortage is complicated couse of 70-year water supply systems, old water pipes are damaged during shooting. The situation is also close to the collapse due to the lack of permanent maintenance. 3.6 million people need humanitarian assistance for water supply and sanitation in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts in 2018. In the first half of 2018 there were recorded 57 serious incidents with water infrastructure, in which 6 employees of communal enterprises were injured. In addition, since the beginning of conflict in 2014, 9 water workers were killed during official duties. “Water is life. We did not think about it before, but now we know how to save it, for example, we use the same water several times: first, we cook food on it, and then water the garden. I wash the dishes without chemicals, then to plant the seedlings with this water “, – tells Tatyana, who helps non-governmental organization” Man in trouble “. The woman can not afford expensive water delivered by waterways because she is 75 years old and has small pension.

The association of 7 international and ukrainian humanitarian organizations (Mama 86, ADRA Ukraine, Man in Need, Polish Humanitarian Action, Première Urgence Internationale, Terre des Hommes and Proliska) working in the Donbass, are concerned about the tendencies of growing humanitarian problems cause of lack of access to water. Together, these organizations asks the President of Ukraine  to prioritize the solution of water supply problems in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts and to take urgent measures to ensure access of the residents of the front-line territories to the essential services necessary for life.

This month is a good opportunity to remind that access to water also means the right to a warm home in Ukraine. The World Handwashing Day was celebrated last week, which proclaim: “Clean hands are a health recipe”. But because of the lack of maintenance, shooting, damage the water infrastructure even the simplest principles of hygiene can not be adhered to.

In October,  the heating season started in Ukraine. In areas with centralized heating systems where water is needed for the operation of radiators, thousands of people can be left without water and heat, cause of shooting of pipes in areas of active conflict. The population of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts will be forced to move or use expensive alternatives. Somebody has been displaced several times. The economic situation has constantly deteriorated for five years. “Every day in Donbass we works for support people affected by the conflict and we see how much is the problem of complicated access to water. When the water infrastructure is damaged couse of shooting, we are in a hurry to deliver thousands of liters of water  to families who would be left without water. Of course, we provide extremely needed help, but this is not a sustainable solution. That is why we also asks the Ukrainian government to consider water supply problems, in particular, in eastern Ukraine. We hope that the government will respond to our reminder, review the petition and take the following steps: provide access to clean fresh water for all people affected by the conflict in the Donbas, protect the water infrastructure of the Donbas and its employees ; taking measures to protect water resources from pollution that may arise as a result of armed conflict, “said Artem Dikhtiaruk, program director of the charitable organization ADRA Ukraine.

The petition will be available for signing on the President’s website at   https://petition.president.gov.ua/petition/47447 within three months. Humanitarian organizations encourage people to engage with the government by the petition and media campaign on social networks with hashtags #PravoNaVodu, #RightToWater and #ProtectWaterUkraine. The video that shows what the lack of water means in our everyday lives will help to understand that the population of Donbass risk being left without access to services such as access to water and heat. This is an important step in reforms and ensuring a healthy and safe life for all Ukrainians.

Video: https://youtu.be/BP3NAtVzK_E (in Ukrainian) and https: https://youtu.be/b9d0U0ajYDo (in Russian).