The WHO warns that winter will be a “mortal” threat for millions of Ukrainians

The WHO warns that winter will be a “mortal” threat for millions of Ukrainians


Due to the effects of the war and the energy crisis caused by the damage of the bombings to the infrastructures

A man observes the Independence Square (Maidan) in kyiv,
A man observes the Independence Square (Maidan) in kyiv,PA
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The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday that Millions of Ukrainians face a “deadly” threat by the effects of the war and the energy crisis caused by the damage to the infrastructure caused by the Russian attacks.

“The devastating energy crisis, the aggravation of the mental health emergencyrestrictions on humanitarian access and the risk of viral infections will make this winter a formidable test for the health system and for the Ukrainians, but also for the world and its commitment to support Ukraine,” WHO Europe chief Hans Kluge told a news conference.

Kluge, who spoke virtually from kyiv, stressed that the half of the country’s energy infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed and that this is having a domino effect on the health system and on people’s health, hence the objective this winter is to “survive”.

“It is the largest attack on the health infrastructure in European soil since World War II“, said Kluge, who spoke of the “blackest” days in nine months of war in Ukraine from the point of view of health.

The WHO, which does not attribute the author or specify the areas in which they have occurred, has so far verified 703 attacks on the Ukrainian health network and both these and those aimed at the energy infrastructure cause hundreds of health centers to not be fully operational, lack fuel, electricity or water.

The lack of electricity supply, which affects a quarter of the populationand the threat of cold will force the use of alternative heating methods such as coal or generators, with the consequent risks of exposure to toxic substances, warn WHO experts.

Up to three million more displaced

“We expect between two and three million people to leave their homes in search of warmthry safety,” Kluge warned.

The director of WHO Europe mentioned as some of the most urgent health problems the treatment of chronic diseases, low covid-19 vaccine coverage and mental problems, which already threaten around ten million Ukrainians.

As revealed in the same appearance by the highest representative of the WHO in Ukraine, Jarno Habicht, this organization has supplied 200 tons of medicines and equipment since the beginning of the war and already entered the town of Kherson last week, recently recaptured by Ukrainian troops.

WHO is also helping by training health workers in Ukraine, supplying precast structures in “recently recovered areas” and collaborating in emergency repairs to the sanitary network and energy maintenance.

Despite the aid, one in five Ukrainians have trouble accessing medicines and, in occupied zones or close to combat areas, the proportion increases to one in three, Habicht said.

Need for humanitarian corridors

“The war has impacted access to healthcare and supply lines for the flow of humanitarian aid. Ukraine needs sustained resources so that the health system can get through the winter,” Kluge said.

Kluge appealed to the parties to allow “urgently” the creation of health corridors humanitarian aid in all areas recaptured by Ukraine and in those occupied by Russia.

“Access to health cannot be held hostage,” denounced Kluge, who also urged to end the war “before the healthcare system and the health of the Ukrainian nation are further compromised.”

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