Ukraine crisis: Civilian infrastructure must not be targeted

08 July 2016

Kiev (ICRC) – Ongoing shelling in the Gorlovka area has seriously damaged water infrastructure critical to the livelihoods of more than 2 million people on both sides of the contact line.

"Our teams are reporting an alarming situation in eastern Ukraine," said Alain Aeschlimann, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation in Ukraine. "Damage to civilian infrastructure is placing a heavy burden on the civilian population there. The damaged water-supply systems of the Severskiy Donets Donbas water company already caused supply problems, and now the high risk of complete water shutdown might lead to significant flooding in the area."

Shelling in residential and urban areas is endangering critical infrastructure – on which civilians depend for their survival and livelihoods – like power stations and water and gas plants. People in Bakhmutka have been without drinking water for the last six months, while the villages of Pyski 2 and Zhovanka report having no electricity and water for the last few weeks. Thousands of people in front-line villages are being left without electricity and water.

"Infrastructure and other property essential for the survival of civilians enjoy special protection under international humanitarian law. It is vitally important that the parties to the conflict fulfil their obligations in this regard and that people can meet their essential needs," said Alain Aeschlimann.

All parties must allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of resources for civilian infrastructure to function. Maintenance teams should be granted immediate access to assess and repair the power and water systems.

For further information, please contact:
Alina Murzaeva, ICRC Kiev, tel: +380 067 509 42 06