IsraAID, Israel’s leading humanitarian aid organization, is marking one year of providing safe drinking water in the Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv. After a Russian attack severed the city’s water supply, IsraAID installed four water filtration systems across the city, restoring residents’ access to safe drinking water. Today, the organization operates 12 water distribution points in Mykolaiv and has provided four million liters of safe drinking water as part of its ongoing response to the war in Ukraine and its commitment to supporting vulnerable and displaced Ukrainian communities.
In April of 2022, the water supply to Mykolaiv was completely severed after a Russian attack on the Kherson region destroyed the pipes that draw water from the nearby reservoir. The port city, located about 50 km east of Odesa, had no access to water for months. The municipality began pumping in “technical water” from a nearby estuary, however, the partially salty water was unfit for drinking and other household uses. In August of that year, in partnership with MASHAV, IsraAID delivered four reverse osmosis water filtration systems to the city and installed them in district administration centers throughout the city.
Over the course of the last year, IsraAID has expanded Its water program in the city. Today the organization’s 12 water distribution points are located in district administration centers, schools, and kindergartens. IsraAID has trained municipal workers on the care and maintenance of the systems, ensuring that they continue to run smoothly. To date, IsraAID has provided over 4 million liters of drinking water.
As hostilities continue across Ukraine, IsraAID continues to adapt. Last month, Russian rocket attacks injured at least 18 people and damaged large swaths of Mykolaiv, including a building that houses one of IsraAID’s water distribution points. The system was partially damaged, and IsraAID worked with the municipality to repair the system and continue providing water.
The distribution points are accessible for free to all the city’s residents. Maria*, an elderly woman who visits one of IsraAID’s distribution points every day to fill up her water jug said, “I live alone since my grandson was taken hostage in Mariupol. I can only carry one six-liter bottle, so I come to fill it every day. I use this water to drink, cook, and bathe. I’m grateful that this water point opened up in the building next to mine, I used to have to travel much further to get water.” Anna* and Ivan*, a young couple, visit the distribution point daily with dozens of bottles. They then distribute water to friends and family who have limited mobility or cannot get water themselves. “Our friend broke her leg recently,” Anna says, “so we started bringing her water too.”
IsraAID’s Head of Mission in Ukraine, Alena Druzhynina, said:
“We are proud to mark this milestone of one year of access to safe water in Mykolaiv. It is part of our commitment to Ukrainian communities in the long term, and we will continue this effort for as long as we are needed. Water is such an essential need, and having access to safe, free drinking water makes a huge impact on communities that are already coping with so many challenges. It’s important to remember that every one of the millions of liters of water that we have provided supports the daily lives of real people enduring unimaginable challenges. Throughout all our programs – from mental health support to medical support and distributing essential aid items – we will continue to support the resilience of the Ukrainian people for as long as it takes.”
* Names have been changed for the safety and privacy of the residents.
Further information is available on request, including interviews with IsraAID Ukraine’s Head of Mission Alena Druzhynina, CEO Yotam Polizer, and other individuals involved in this operation.
A folder of photos showing IsraAID’s work in Mykolaiv can be found here. All photos should be credited to IsraAID/Oleg Samoilenko
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