An increase of civilian casualties was recorded in September – from 12 in August to 20 (5 killed and 15 injured), according to OHCHR, as hostilities continued unabated in eastern Ukraine. On 11 September, a secondary school in the settlement Zolote 5 (Luhanska Oblast, NGCA) was shelled during classes and 100 students and teachers had to be evacuated to the nearby bomb shelters. This was the 62nd security incident involving educational facilities so far this year. Since January 2017, 57 incidents of education facility damages have been recorded, directly affecting nearly 5,600 children. Such incidents highlight the urgent need for the endorsement of ‘Safe Schools Declaration’ to ensure the protection of education facilities from attacks during the times of armed conflict. High levels of contamination of landmine and explosive remnant of war continued to pose lethal risks to people living in the conflict-affected area. On 30 September, three children were killed, and one seriously injured by an explosive device while playing in the forest near Horlivka (Donetsk Oblast, NGCA). The Humanitarian Coordinator issued a statement calling for immediate actions to protect people from landmines, urged to adopt the appropriate mine action legal framework and establish a national coordination mechanism to facilitate upscaling of humanitarian demining. On a positive note, repairs of one of the two water pipelines of the South Donbass Waterway, damaged by shelling in January 2017, were completed after 20-month delay due to continued hostilities and lack of security guarantees. The two pipelines serve approximately 800,000 people on both sides of the ‘contact line’. However, the other damaged pipeline located in ‘no man’s land’ remained unfixed due to lack of access. This resulted in a leakage of an estimated 2 million liters of water every hour. The leaking water has created an artificial lake now visible via satellite imagery.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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