In Mariupol, Ukraine’s devastated southeastern port city now under Russian occupation, fears have shifted from relentless bombing to deteriorating sanitary conditions: sewage overflowing into drinking water and fears of a cholera outbreak.
On Monday, one of the city’s exiled local officials said Russian officials, now in control of Mariupol, were considering imposing a quarantine on the city, where decomposing corpses and garbage were contaminating drinking water, putting residents remaining at risk of cholera and other diseases.
“There are conversations about quarantine. The city is being quietly shut down,” said mayor adviser Petro Andriushchenko, a trusted source of information for residents who remain in the city.
“The city has really turned into a place with dead bodies everywhere,” Andriushchenko said on national television.
“They are stacked. The occupants cannot even bury them in mass graves. There is not enough capacity even for that.”
THE CNN could not independently verify Andriushchenko’s claims.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of the potential for a cholera outbreak in Mariupol and has pre-positioned vaccines in Dnipro, but it is not known how they would reach residents.
Cholera, an infection that causes acute diarrhea, is linked to inadequate access to clean water and kills tens of thousands around the world every year, according to the WHO.
Dorit Nitzan, WHO’s director of emergencies in Europe, who visited Ukraine last month, said the hygienic situation in Mariupol was a great danger.
“We have received information that there are swamps on the streets and that sewage and drinking water are mixing,” Nitzan said on May 17 in the capital Kiev.
Andriushchenko said it was “difficult to convey” just how bleak the situation has become in Mariupol, with the city’s natural sources of water dwindling as the warmer months roll in and Russian evacuations come to a complete halt.
“You can enter the city with a residence permit in Mariupol. But this is a one-way ticket, because you can’t leave,” he said. “Of all the possible scenarios to fight the epidemic, in our opinion, Russia chose, as usual, the most cynical one – only to shut down the townspeople and leave everything as it is: whoever survives, survives.”
Mariupol Deputy Mayor Serhiy Orlov, who is also not in Mariupol, said on Tuesday that he believes about 150,000 people remain in the city out of a pre-invasion population of more than 400,000, with more 30,000 to 40,000 in the surrounding suburbs
Source: CNN Brasil
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