Conflicts & War

Ukraine works to fix energy outages after Russian strikes hit infrastructure

By Rostyslav Averchuk

Lviv, Ukraine, Nov 24 (EFE).- Electricity, water and centralized heating supplies are being restored in Ukraine as the country suffers the aftermath of a third large wave of Russian missile attacks by Russia against its key energy infrastructure as Ukrainians adjust to the repeated emergency power outages.

Some 75% of consumers in the Lviv region remain without power supply due to emergency power outages that continue throughout the country, according to local authorities.

Iryna Maruniak, deputy head of city council, told reporters that all the city had water supply but no centralized heating. She warned that the situation in the city itself was “changing every 10 minutes.”

The cardiac surgery department of a local hospital still had two surgeries planned for Thursday.

“Despite the war, people continue to suffer from cardiovascular diseases,” the chief of the department, Vitaliy Averchuk, told Efe. He said that the department’s workload has increased since the start of the invasion as it provides high-quality treatment both to the residents of the city and hundreds of internally displaced Ukrainians.

“In times of war, people tend to turn to medical help only when they can no longer avoid doing so. As a result we have to deal with very complicated cases in difficult conditions.”

He said that three surgeries were ongoing in the department when the electricity went off in the whole city Thursday. Up to 30 seconds passed before the power generator jumped into action, allowing the surgeons to complete their jobs.

“The generators are used to power the surgery rooms, some wards and the ICU unit,” Averchuk said.

Part of the wards, where patients either recover or wait for treatment, as well as the common areas and doctors’ offices were all plunged into darkness, with the personnel navigating the XVIII century building of the hospital with torches.

Not all operating rooms in local hospitals are powered by generators, meaning doctors must either postpone badly needed surgeries or start them in the hopes no outage occurs during the procedure.

The power supply in the hospital itself was restored at night while emergency outages continued throughout the city.

A total of 18 heating points have so far been opened in administrative buildings in the last few days, with several hundred more expected to start operating in the coming weeks.

Kostya, an employee of a heating point in the center of Lviv, told Efe on Wednesday that only a couple of visitors had used the premises so far. He expected the number of visitors to grow as the outages continued and with the temperature expected to hover around zero in the next few days.

On Thursday, the number of visitors increased only slightly while parts of the city remained without light.

Powered by electricity generators, the heating points intend to provide a chance for residents to keep warm, collect some hot food and drinks, as well as to charge their phones and contact their relatives.

Some local restaurants also serve as improvised heating points while continuing to serve food to paying customers while others are scrambling to buy power generators. According to the Ukrainian MP Yaroslav Zheleznyak, 136,000 generators have been imported into Ukraine in the first 21 days of November.

The situation in Lviv is similar to what has been happening throughout the country after all Ukraine’s nuclear power plants were cut off from its electrical grid. The plants are currently being restarted, according to the state firm Energoatom. EFE


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