Switzerland has sent 505 tons of water treatment chemicals and medicines to help people in conflict-affected parts of eastern Ukraine. It is the only country organising humanitarian convoys across the so-called contact line to rebel and government-held zones.
On October 26, a convoy of 20 trucks delivered water treatment chemicals for the Donbas water treatment plant, as well as cancer medicines for two local hospitals. Other areas receiving Swiss aid included Mariupol and Krasnoarmiisk on the government-controlled side of the contact line. In all, CHF1 million ($1.01 million) worth of aid was delivered.
This was the third such convoy of Swiss aid. On this occasion, it was accompanied by representatives of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid unit and staff from the Swiss embassy and the cooperation office in Kyiv.
The convoys follow an assessment mission in March which highlighted the urgent problem of poor quality drinking water in the region. This had led to a rise in the number of cases of hepatitis A. The water works in Donetsk was no longer able to supply clean water to both sides of the contact line because of the conflict.
At the start of the conflict, Switzerland only provided humanitarian funds and support staff to international bodies working on both sides of the contact line. However, since the beginning of 2015 it has begun direct operations to provide humanitarian assistance in the region.