The ongoing armed conflict in Ukraine continues to claim victims and cause untold damage. Vital goods like water are in increasingly short supply.
Humanitarian Convoys from Switzerland in Ukraine
Voda Dombass, a water company operating in the Donetsk region, was no longer able to distribute drinking water to communities living on either side of the line of contact. The conflict had prevented shipments of water purification chemicals reaching the factory. The number of Hepatitis A infections in the region rose considerably due to the consumption of unsafe water.
Following a request for aid, since May 2015 Switzerland has dispatched seven humanitarian convoys carrying the necessary water treatment products. Lorries and trains carrying several tonnes of chemicals successfully crossed the line of contact unhindered. The shipments also contained medical supplies and medication destined for hospitals across the region.
Switzerland became the first and only third state to deliver aid on this scale to communities living on either side of the line of contact. In May 2016, Switzerland was the first country to transport supplies by rail. In fact, no organisation had been able accomplish this until then.
Over three million people benefited from Swiss aid and there was a considerable fall in the number of illnesses caused by the consumption of unsafe water. Another benefit was that these operations bolstered the position of Voda Dombass as a public service provider.