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UN reports record-high civilian casualties in Donbass since August 2015

September 08, 2016, 19:38 UTC+3

According to the UN 16 people have been killed and 75 were injured in Donbass over the past month

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A Ukrainian serviceman during evacuation of lovcal residents from a village in Donbass, June 2014

A Ukrainian serviceman during evacuation of lovcal residents from a village in Donbass, June 2014

© Stanislav Krasilnikov/ITAR-TASS/archive

UNITED NATIONS, September 8. /TASS/. The number of victims of the conflict in the east of Ukraine continues to increase and in August reached a new record high over the last year, says a report released on Thursday by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). According to the UN 16 people have been killed and 75 were injured in Donbass over the past month.

"Escalation of the conflict increases human suffering. A renewed ceasefire was announced on 1 September, and while incidents continue to be reported, there has been a significant de-escalation. The conflict and its human consequences now go largely unnoticed, and this has a resultant implication on funding," the report says. "Over the last month, frequent and intense shelling and shooting in populated areas resulted in the highest number of civilian casualties for a year and damaged houses and civilian infrastructure, leaving numerous people without shelter, drinking water, electricity or other basic services."

"The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 91 conflict-related civilian casualties in Ukraine in August (16 killed and 75 injured). In June and July, 20 civilians had been killed and 122 injured altogether. Shelling, including from heavy artillery, which is prohibited according to the Minsk agreements, accounted for the majority (70%) of civilian casualties in August. Small arms and light weapons caused 13 casualties (five deaths and eight injuries); seven casualties (two killed and five injured) were caused by mines and Explosive Remnants of War. Since the beginning of the conflict, at least 22,212 people have been wounded, and 9,569 have been killed. More than 2,000 of the fatalities were civilians," the OCHA report says.

According to the document, the Donetsk region, and in particular the area of Yasinovataya, Avdeyevka and Donetsk city, "remains the major hotspot of the armed conflict. However, intense combat activity occurred in several locations" in the Lugansk region in August. "The heavy shelling of the town of Shchastye on 30 August was reportedly the most intense fighting in this location since the beginning of the year. It resulted in severe damage to numerous houses and the first conflict-related casualty in this area in a year," says the report.

According to OCHA, "950,000 people suffered limited access to safe water In August, critical civilian infrastructure, particularly gas pipelines and power lines in the vicinity of the ‘contact line’, were regularly affected by hostilities." "According to the WASH Cluster in Ukraine, of the 2.9 million people whose access to sufficient clean water has been affected longer term by the crisis, some 950,000 people experienced specific incidences of limited access to safe drinking water during the second half of August 2016," says the report. "Several big cities in NGCA of Lugansk oblast have consistently experienced water shortages since 2014 due to the absence of a formalized funding mechanism between the water supply companies. According to OCHA, "In Donetsk oblast, where the water supplier ‘Voda Donbasa’ continues to serve people on both sides of the ‘contact line’, damages from shelling are the major cause of numerous service interruptions. Since the beginning of the year, 24 WASH alerts have been recorded, causing water shortages of different scale and scope in both Donetsk and Lugansk regions.".

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