Ukraine: First Swiss aid convoy using rail transport reaches Donetsk

Bern, 25.05.2016 - Two more Swiss Humanitarian Aid convoys have delivered water treatment chemicals and medical goods to the conflict zone in Ukraine. For one of these, Swiss Humanitarian Aid, part of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), used rail transport for the first time.

The train, consisting of eight carriages, reached the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine on 24 May 2016. It was carrying a consignment of 473 tonnes of water treatment chemicals, primarily aluminium sulphate, for the Donbas waterworks, a facility supplying drinking water to many municipalities on both sides of the contact line. The train was loaded on the government-controlled side before crossing this line between Kostyantynivka and Yasinovataya, thus providing the first humanitarian aid to be brought into the non-government-controlled area (NGCA) by rail since the conflict began.

Other goods arrived in Donetsk by lorry, namely medical materials such as spare parts for an X ray machine, equipment and medicines for treating cancer and 38 WATA chlorine-production devices. The local authorities in this region can use these devices for the independent, long-term production of a chlorine solution to treat the drinking water for 300,000 people.

A second convoy, consisting of 15 lorries, delivered aid on the government-controlled side. The consignment delivered 245 tonnes of chemicals for the local branch of the Donbas waterworks in the town of Krasnoarmiysk. Another part of the consignment, loaded with medical supplies and medicines, was for the hospital in Kurakhove near the contact line. Nine staff members from Swiss Humanitarian Aid and from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) and employees from Switzerland's embassy and cooperation office in Kyiv accompanied and provided logistical support for the convoys.

These latest consignments are the fourth set of aid convoys in a project worth a total of CHF 1.3 million. Swiss Humanitarian Aid with the help of SHA experts has been delivering water treatment chemicals to the Donbas waterworks since spring 2015. So far, the SDC has been the only state actor organising humanitarian convoys which cross the contact line in eastern Ukraine.

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