War in Ukraine: Fears of winter ‘threatening the lives’ of millions

According to the World Health Organization, the lives of millions of people are at risk following Russian strikes in Ukraine that destroyed the country’s energy infrastructure. “Simply put, this winter will be a matter of survival,” says the company’s regional director.

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LThe World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday that winter could threaten the lives of millions of Ukrainians, after a series of devastating Russian strikes on the country’s energy infrastructure.


“This winter will endanger the lives of millions of people in Ukraine,” WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, told reporters. “Simply put, this winter will be about survival.” Damage to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure is “already having catastrophic effects on the health system and the health of the population”, Kluge added.

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According to him, the WHO has recorded more than 700 attacks on Ukrainian health facilities since the Russian invasion began in February, which he said was a “clear violation” of international humanitarian law. This means “hundreds of hospitals and health facilities are no longer fully functional,” he said. “We expect another two to three million people to flee their homes in search of warmth and safety.”

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“They will face significant health problems, including respiratory infections such as Covid-19, pneumonia, influenza and serious risks such as diphtheria and measles in under-vaccinated populations,” said Mr. Kluge added.

Power cuts till March

According to electricity providers, Ukrainians should expect power outages at least until the end of March. Before the weather turns even colder, technicians are doing their best to repair the damage to the power grid, Yasno Power Company Director Serhiy Kovalenko said.

If Russian attacks don’t cause further damage, power outages could be distributed across the country and blackouts would last less time. “Although there are fewer cuts today, I want everyone to understand: Ukrainians will have to live with this flow at least until the end of March,” said Mr. Kovalenko warned.

For example, he advised people to stock up on warm clothes and blankets.

Since mid-October, Russia has launched heavy rocket attacks and destroyed Ukraine’s energy system in violation of international law. Already in October, Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk urged Ukrainian refugees abroad not to return to Ukraine until next spring.

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