‘Deep suffering’: Aid agencies warn some Ukrainians run out of heat ahead of cold weather
A wave of Russian attacks on critical energy infrastructure has left some Ukrainian communities without access to heat, water and electricity.
Now the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are concerned about its impact as the cold begins to set in.
“We are extremely concerned about the humanitarian impact of the ongoing attacks on energy infrastructure, as they deprive communities of heat and water just as temperatures are dropping,” UN OCHA spokeswoman Anna Jefferys said in a statement. email to CNN.
In recent weeks, Russian missile and drone strikes have targeted Ukraine’s power plants and electricity grid, causing blackouts and disrupting water supplies.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared that more than a third of the country’s energy sector was destroyed.
Jefferys said the UN was particularly concerned about people who had stayed in their homes near Ukraine’s front line, many of whom are elderly, disabled or chronically ill.
“We are especially concerned about the people in the eastern and southern provinces, who have suffered from unrelenting bombardment for months and have been totally traumatized,” he said. “Their ability to cope with the situation is wearing thin.”
The ICRC echoed the UN’s concerns, telling CNN that the attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure had caused “deep suffering” that could worsen as temperatures drop.
“Throughout Ukraine, power grids are directly linked to water systems, which means that when electricity goes out, residents also have no access to water in their homes and workplaces,” said Achille Després, ICRC spokesman. in Ukraine, in an email.
“This is already causing profound suffering to civilians as temperatures have started to drop significantly.
“As winter approaches, people across the country are going to find it difficult to meet their basic needs, such as having clean water, keeping warm, using electricity or cooking,” Després warned, adding that “the needs are enormous. “.