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Residents of recaptured Ukrainian city of Izium hold onto life under harsh conditions

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IZIUM, KHARKIV, UKRAINE - SEPTEMBER 18: Ukrainian citizens wait in queue for food aid packages and candles delivered by volunteer organizations after Russian Forces withdrawal from Izium as Russia-Ukraine war continues in Izium, Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine on September 18, 2022. (Metin Aktaş-Anadolu Agency)
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Sep 20, 2022 - 02:14 AM

IZIUM, Ukraine (AA) – Amid electricity, water and gas shortages, the residents of Ukraine’s northeastern Izium city, which has recently been recaptured from Russian forces, try to hold on to life under harsh conditions.

The inhabitants of Izium cook their food outside their houses over a wood fire and meet their daily water needs old style due to collapse of infrastructure.

Held by Russian forces for a long time, Izium was retaken by the Ukrainian army after it launched a counter-attack in the Kharkiv region in September.

While most of the inhabitants left the city after Russia launched a war against its neighbor in February, some could not abandon their homes due to their limited financial conditions.

Even though the hot conflict in the region is over, the struggle for the life of civilians, mostly of the elderly and women, is still harsh.

All stores shutdown and badly damaged or collapsed apartments are what strike the eye first in the city.

Particularly, the residential buildings east of the Donets River, which divides the city into half, have been destroyed or burned due to the attacks.

The survivors of the hot conflict are trying to hold onto life with aid distributed by relief agencies and the Ukrainian army.

Besides the food parcels, the inhabitants are also provided with candles to illuminate the darkness.

Basic services not available

Izium bears the brunt of the war widely as destruction is seen all over the city.

Lack of electricity, water and gas, the inhabitants carry water from a nearby water tank with cans for their daily needs.

For the elderly, however, it is a suffer to carry heavy cans.

Cooking is another problem for the Izium residents as they need to cook outside their apartments due to lack of electricity and gas. So, it is no surprise to see people lighting a fire in front of their apartments to cook food.

Valentina, 64, who was cooking over the fire she made in front of her apartment, told Anadolu Agency that they took shelter in the basement of their apartment during heavy Russian shelling.

“There is no gas or electricity, so we cook over fire and boil water. We do not have water at home. We are used to it now,” she said.

“They promise that electricity and water will be provided. We will spend the winter in our flats. I hope at least the weather will have a pity on us,” she added.

Natalia Presichanskaya, another Izium resident, who was carrying water from the water tank in the region for her house, said that they boil the water and drink it.

“The conditions are of course very harsh. Because we have no heating, we have no light. We cook food over fire. What else can I say? My elderly mother lives in the village. It is almost impossible to reach the village. We are struggling so much.”

Mobile phones are also of great importance for people living in Izium to communicate with their relatives in other regions. Ukrainian soldiers help the inhabitants charge their mobile phone with a generator they bring with them. People who want to charge their mobile phones line up for long queues.

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