Apr 13, 2022 - World

UN: Ukraine water system "at risk of complete collapse"

Ukraine
Destroyed military equipment of the Russian Army in Ukraine. Photo: Pavlo Bahmut/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Ukraine's water system is "at risk of complete collapse" as Russia prepares for a new offensive in the eastern part of the country, the United Nations warned on Wednesday.

Driving the news: UNICEF said 1.4 million people in Ukraine no longer have access to piped water and 4.6 million people are at risk of losing their water supply.

  • "Power cuts have stopped water pumps, and explosion-related damage to pipelines are disrupting the flow of water," the agency said in a statement.
  • It said the UN has recorded at least 20 separate incidents of damage to water infrastructure in eastern Ukraine alone, adding that the continued fighting and use of explosives in populated areas "threatens to further decimate the water system."
  • The UN had previously warned of the risks to children from a lack of running water and said that half of an estimated 3.2 million children who were forced to stay in their homes do not have enough food.

What they're saying: "Water is essential for life and a right for everyone," said Osnat Lubrani, the UN resident coordinator in Ukraine.

  • "The health risks, particularly for children and the elderly, caused by water stoppages are severe, as people are forced to use dirty water sources, resulting in diarrhea and other deadly infectious diseases," Lubrani added.
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