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Water supply to 345,000 people in eastern Ukraine at risk as Donetsk Filter Station stops operations

19 Apr 2018

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Yesterday, the Donetsk Filter Station in Ukraine stopped its operations after five of its employees were shot and injured on 17 April. The Station’s operations will likely remain suspended until guarantees for the safety of its personnel from parties to the conflict are received.

This is not the first incident at the Donetsk Filter Station. On 14 March, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine, Mr. Neal Walker, issued a statement condemning similar attacks on the station’s workers on four separate occasions. "I am deeply concerned that water treatment workers and critical infrastructure continue to be targeted in eastern Ukraine’s armed conflict", he said. "It is unacceptable that in the last eight days, brave workers seeking to maintain the Donetsk Filter Station have been shot at on four separate occasions.The operation of the Donetsk Filter Station relies on the safe and unfettered access for the technicians, who risk their lives on a daily basis so water continues to flow to 345,000 men, women and children affected by the conflict."

The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine continues to claim lives, damage critical civilian infrastructure and trigger humanitarian and protection needs. In 2018, 4.4 million Ukrainians are affected by the conflict, trapped in active hostilities or forced to flee. 3.4 million women, men and children are in dire need of humanitarian assistance and protection services.

"I call on all parties to the conflict to respect civilian infrastructure and protect civilian workers", the Humanitarian Coordinator concluded in his statement. "It is clear that any targeting of civilian infrastructure and intentional disruption of access to water supply or heating systems is a violation of International Humanitarian Law."

The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan, which requires US$187 million, is currently only 3 per cent funded.

Photos: V.Shuvayev/2017