Wednesday, March 29

without supplies and with the population isolated

The Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the main Ukrainian port on the shore of the Sea of ​​Azov, has become in recent days the target of a siege that keeps the population isolated and with hardly any basic supplies. The few testimonies that come from the area show a humanitarian disaster of the first order.

The attack on a mother and child hospital on Wednesday, which according to the Ukrainian authorities left at least three dead, has once again highlighted the null protection that civil infrastructures are receiving within the framework of a conflict that ended up breaking out on February 24, with the beginning of the Russian invasion.

Kyiv directly blames the Russian forces for this attack, while Moscow stands out assuring that the hospital no longer functioned as such, but as a base for Ukrainian extremists. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), with a presence in the area, admits that it is still early to know if it was an attack “directed” specifically against the hospital or if it was collateral damage.

Be that as it may, he warns: “In a city where the health system is on the verge of collapsedepriving people of health care is a violation of the laws of war.” MSF’s emergency manager, Kate White, has also confirmed damage to homes and other hospitals during the fighting in recent days.

The executive director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Catherine Russell, declares herself equally “horrified” by what happened and reminds everyone the parties that have “obligations” to respect, even if they are immersed in the conflict.

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For her part, the director of Save The Children for Eastern Europe, Irina Saghoyan, criticizes that “a place where people go for help has become one of absolute destruction. “Where are families going to go? and the children if not even the hospitals are safe?”, he laments.

Thousands of people trapped

Mariupol is considered a key conquest for Russia’s military interests, to the extent that it would allow him to advance his efforts to unite the rebel areas of eastern Ukraine with the Crimean peninsula.

In recent days, there have been several attempts to establish humanitarian corridors, but they have not been without setbacks. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister has indicated that between 300,000 and 400,000 people would remain “hostages” of the Russian forces and their allies, already without basic supplies or communications.

President Volodimir Zelenski this week denounced the death of a child from dehydration, “perhaps for the first time since the Nazi invasion.” “Listen to me, dear allies. A child has died of dehydration. In 2022! Said the president on his social networks.

Kiev has put this case as an example of a humanitarian crisis that Olexander, an MSF worker, has seen first-hand. “In Mariupol, right now there is no drinking water, nothing, and there is nowhere to get it“, he says in a recording distributed by the NGO itself.

People survive as they can, “looking for fountains in the parks or collecting water from the roofs when the snow melts.” In addition, warns Olexander, citizens “have no way of finding food and they cannot make a fire to cook with.”

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“The situation for those who have small children is also very, very bad, because they need many more things, such as hygiene products, and there is no way to find them anywhere,” he adds.

Related news

The local authorities of Mariúpol denounce that more than a thousand people have died as a result of the siege and the combats, a figure impossible to verify. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights puts the death toll in the entire country at 516, but expressly cites ignorance of what is happening in Mariupol among his arguments to advance that the actual figure will be “considerably higher.”

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) points out that “the needs continue to accumulate (in Mariúpol, where hundreds of thousands of people have been trapped for more than ten days in extreme conditions).

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