Ukraine War Day #174: When Will Mariupol Return To Normal?

Dear Readers:

Today I have this piece by reporter Dmitry Zubarev. It’s fairly short, so here is a full translation:

The Mayor of Mariupol, Konstantin Ivashchenko, has promised that by the end of September 80% of the residential houses in the city will be re-supplied with water and electricity. Currently just over 20% of the houses have electricity.

Mayor Konstantin Ivashchenko

Ivashchenko: I recently spoke with the residents of the Primorye region. Currently we have over 500 energy specialists from the Russian Federation, working on the restoration of the electrical grids and networks. We also have around 100 specialists from Mariupol-Light, and also representantives from the Republican (e.g., Donetsk Peoples Republic) Energy Company.

According to Ivashchenko, over 20% of the residential houses currently have electricity. “As for water, it is being supplied in all of the regions [of the city] but not necessarily up to all the storeys of every building. This situation will improve after we have been able to hook up the pumping stations to the electrical grid.”

As for the gas supply: Russian Federation and DPR contractors are working to restore the gas-transport network for the city. “Gas will first appear in the homes of individual private home owners. Then we expect that gas will be supplied to all the houses [and flats] of all city residents by the beginning of October.”

Thirst As A War Crime

That’s the end of that piece. But speaking of water… As if their lives are not horrible enough, with the daily artillery shellings, the residents of the city of Donetsk have an even bigger problem: They have no running water. I have this piece by reporter Yury Vasiliev. This situation has been going on for several months now, ever since the Ukrainians cut the water off to Donetsk and surrounding towns. See, the Ukrainian authorities control the pumping stations that feed water from the Northern Seversk-Donbass canal. Before then, these people used to have a municipal water system with drinkable water coming right out of their taps, like normal civilized people.

I read somewhere else, in a different piece (of which I forgot to save the link, sorry), that the Ukrainian authorities graciously continued to supply water to Donetsk while they still owned Mariupol. Seems like, there are some technical intracies in the water grid, you can’t cut off the one without depriving the other. But once Mariupol was lost to the Ukrainians, they had no more incentive to supply water to Donetsk. It’s not like it’s a war crime to willfully cut civilian populations off from drinking water, or anything like that… [sarcasm]

Families have to forage for drinking water.

Back to this piece: The reporter encounters a local resident named Julia Gorbachenko, who points to two wheel barrows, each holding a few plastic 5-liter bottles of water. “These are for me, and these are for you,” she says to her buddy Irina.

“You go ahead of me, Yulechka,” replies her neighbor, Irina Mikhailovna. Irina is carrying two additional bottles in her hands.

Julia and Irina are both elderly pensioners. They are allowed to collect as much water as they can carry, free of charge, from the cistern. The problem is that it takes them 10 minutes to walk back home, carrying or dragging this load.

“I’ll come over later,” Irina promises. “My son is coming to visit today, from over there, and I need to prepare something good for him.”

Everybody knows what “over there” means: the front line. There are no males here, except for the very old and the very young. The capital of the Donbass seems half-empty, but in reality there are hundreds of thousands of residents here. And, since they have no running water in their homes any more, they have to undertake these dangerous daily excursions, always under fire and shellings.

Alexei Kulemzin

We are introduced to a man named Alexei Kulemzin, who hads the Donetsk Municipal Administration. “On a normal day,” he tells the reporter, “230,000 cubic meters of water per day, that’s what we need to pump into the municipal system. Nowadays we can barely push 50,000. […] The pumping stations are on the Ukrainian side, unfortunately. Due to the shellings, a lot of our local equipment has been put out of service. Then there is the issue of the depletion of the reservoir, we need the water pressure from there to push the water into the pipes. Our water guys are miracle workers, they perform miracles on a daily basis. It’s just that even miracles have their limits…

“And for these reasons the Donetsk apartment buildings have not even a fifth of the usual supply of water in their pipes. Less than a fifth…”

On Bukovinskaya Street, where we just saw Julia and Irina collecting water, people are queuing up to access the 6 taps. The taps are hooked up to a long cistern [mounted on a truck] that is labelled “To the people of Donbass from the people of the Moscow region.”

[to be continued]

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7 Responses to Ukraine War Day #174: When Will Mariupol Return To Normal?

  1. nicolaavery says:

    Found this in old links, don’t know if it can be done there , also project at Surrey looking at self sustaining using wastewater (disclaimer will be studying at Surrey next Feb remotely, not this project but will be closer to it)


    • yalensis says:

      Thanks, Nicola. I hope your studies at Surrey will be very productive!

      Liked by 1 person

      • nicolaavery says:

        Thanks, I wish I could suggest something amazing but can’t really. Although rainwater being considered undrinkable, it can be boiled. Far from ideal for city but if they can find something without rust, insects, chemicals to store it in, would be better than nothing. Poor people. Like Palestinians without water.


        • yalensis says:

          That’s a good point to remember the Palestinians, they have to go through much the same sh*t as the Donbass people, maybe even worse. Actually no, definitely worse, because they are still occupied, they still feel that boot on their necks, and they basically have no hope.


  2. the pair says:

    not just drinking but bathing…with the forecast showing several days above 30C:

    as someone who HATES heat and takes at least 2 showers a day i can’t imagine what these poor folks are going through. they can’t even wash their hands or maintain first aid for open wounds.

    humans can go days without food but not very long without water. screwing with it is a glaring sign of psychopathy and it will be a massive source of conflict on the coming years…where it hasn’t already:

    Liked by 1 person

  3. S Brennan says:

    Yalensis; Read this article this morning, didn’t have time to write a comment, excellent post.


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