MOSCOW, August 5 (RIA Novosti) - As thousands of Luhansk residents are leaving the city which is curently facing a humanitarian crisis, Luhansk resident Olga, who managed to flee to Kharkov, shared the story of her life in the city with RIA Novosti.
“A lot of people fled from the city. I have nobody left here, except for my sister. When you go out to the balcony, it feels like the city is dead,” Olga said. There are serious problems with the transport network, electricity, communication and water supplies, food became more expensive, she added.
But it is possible to leave the city by bus.
“Buses go to Kharkov, Starobelsk. Apart from that, buses depart from Shastie. You can get to Izvarino from Krasnodon, this area in relatively calm,” Olga said.
“The minibuses do not depart very often. Before they have been leaving every 5 minutes, now they leave once in half an hour. Drivers do not want to go on the route, it is dangerous. Apart from that, there is almost no fuel, and for the little that we have here, the price is extremely high. Trolley buses, trams are not operating,” Olga commented.
The shops are opened only for couple of hours a day, but it is still possible to buy food.
“There is grain in the shops, sometimes cucumbers and tomatoes are brought to the small markets. Someone even brings chicken and meat. There are almost no cigarettes. Food prices increased. Supermarkets are still operating, there are bakeries. Shops are opened until 3-5 p.m. However, in the evenings people try not to go out,” Olga said.
SHOOTING FROM BOTH SIDES
The city is being shelled every day.
“There is constant shooting from both sides," Olga said. "Sometimes the city center is shelled, too. Almost every evening they shoot from Grad missile launchers. There are no Ukrainian troops in Luhansk city, but when we left the city, we have seen two Grad launchers, tanks are all around. But we are used to it. People say that there are sabotage groups in the city, but I have not seen them. In the outskirts, in Schastie there is National Guard, and it is possible to leave via a Green Corridor,” the woman added.
But the hospitals are still operating.
“Yesterday one hospital near the railway station was shelled, there were people inside, but they were evacuated to the shelters on time,” Olga said.
EVERYTHING IS CLOSED
“Almost everything is closed in Luhansk, which is why we left. Almost nobody goes to work, only medical centers, shops, and the rescue services employees. The light and water can be switched off, and then switched on again in a day or two; they are trying to fix something. Landlines are not working, it is very rare when you can reach someone. Mobile phones work time to time, there is signal only on high floors in particular regions," Olga explained.
According to Olga, electricity intermissions started a while ago, but the situation varies in different regions.
“In some areas, for example in Kamennobrodskoe, where the shelling continues for a while, there is no electricity for a month. In some areas there is no light for a week. Somewhere it is on and off. The water supply situation also depends on a region. Somewhere it is switched on for 1-3 hours, somewhere for half an hour only,” Olga said.
AUTHORITIES WARN OF UPCOMING CATASTROPHE
Earlier, the local authorities warned that Luhansk will face a humanitarian catastrophe if technicians will not help to resume electricity supply in the nearest future. Electricity is essential for the water pumping stations’ operations. Luhansk People’s Republic Prime Minister Marat Bashirov said that the drinking water reserves will be sufficient for the couple of days only.
If the electricity supply will not be restored, food will also become rotten soon. The disposition of garbage is stopped; chlorine deliveries to water treatment plants have also been halted, there is shortage of medicines. The city is on the edge of environmental disaster, Luhansk authorities confirmed on Tuesday.
In mid-April, Kiev launched a military operation against independence supporters in eastern Ukraine. According to the most recent UN report, the conflict has claimed the lives of more than 1,100 civilians, with nearly 3,500 injured. Luhansk has become one of the major confrontation “hotspots.”