A FALL in the intensity of fighting in Ukraine has allowed power to be restored to 16,000 people in , the town at the centre of the latest clashes between Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces.
Aid agencies had warned of a humanitarian crisis after heavy shelling cut off power and water supplies to the town, which is gripped by freezing temperatures.
The latest flare-up in the fighting was one of the worst since the peace agreement was signed, two years ago (News, 27 February 2015).
The UN humanitarian representative in Ukraine said this week that the fighting had been “extremely intense”, and that the humanitarian situation remained critical, with temperatures as low as –20ºC.
Despite the current lull, the Ukrainian military continue to report shelling by rebels along other parts of the front line. The Organisation for Safety and Co-operation in Europe warned that tensions remained high, and could flare again at any moment.
The UK charity Mission Without Borders (MWB) said that it had delivered 2000 food parcels, and essentials such as firewood to families in the conflict zone. It is calling for more donations to help it to reach civilians stranded by the fighting.
MWB’s national manager, Carly Jones, said: “The situation for Ukrainians living in vulnerable circumstances is increasingly desperate. Our local teams are working in incredibly difficult conditions to provide basic life-saving support to as many people as possible, including food parcels, warm clothingSave changes and check in, and firewood.
“MWB has been working in Ukraine for many years, and will continue to support as many people as we possibly can, although the need far exceeds our capacity.”
Since the beginning of the conflict, about 10,000 people have been killed in the violence, and civilian deaths are on the rise, UN figures suggest.