Mariupol “on the brink of cholera outbreak with decomposing bodies”

Local residents draw water from a well near the building of a theater destroyed in the wake of the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine.

There are growing concerns that Mariupol’s water supply is being contaminated (Image: Reuters)

Ukrainians left behind in the Russian-controlled city of Mariupol will soon be struck by a cholera outbreak without access to medicine, the deputy mayor said.

The Black Sea port city has been under an intense blockade since Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Before the war, about 500,000 people lived in Mariupol, now there are only 150,000. Because of the siege, they have spent the last three months without adequate access to food, water or electricity.

The city’s last Ukrainian fighters famously held their ground at the Azovstal Steel Plant, but they capitulated last month.

Now the civilians left behind in Mariupol are facing a dangerous “blast” of cholera as 90% of their infrastructure has been destroyed, Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov told i.

“The city is literally drowning in garbage and sewage,” he said.

Because despite “spontaneous burials in almost all courtyards”, central water and sewage systems no longer work.

Local residents transport a crate on a wheelbarrow past a badly damaged apartment building near Azovstal Iron and Steel Works during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine.

About 90% of Mariupol’s infrastructure has been destroyed since the start of the war in Ukraine (Image: Reuters)

Ukrainian soldiers sit on a bus after exiting the besieged Azovstal Steel Works in Mariupol.

Last month, the last Ukrainian defenders from Mariupol left Azovstal Steelworks (Image: AP)

In addition, the beginning of summer “accelerated the decomposition of thousands of corpses under the rubble”.

The blockade also means it will be difficult to get medicine to people with cholera.

Mr Orlov again urged the international community to push for an agreement with the Kremlin to allow civilians a safe route out of the city.

It comes after Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, walked out of a Security Council session because his country was blamed for a looming world food crisis.

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EU Council President Charles Michel said that a few weeks ago he saw millions of tons of grain and wheat stuck in containers and ships in Odessa.

It was “because of Russian warships in the Black Sea,” he said, before blaming Russian attacks on transport infrastructure and grain stores.

“This drives up food prices, pushes people into poverty and destabilizes entire regions,” Michel said.

“Russia alone is responsible for this looming food crisis. Russia alone.”

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Justin Scacco

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