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Ukraine Faces Surgical Challenges as Power Cuts Worsen, Surgery Without Electricity

Photo : EPA

In Ukraine, Tetiana faces a daily struggle as power cuts jeopardize the life of her son, who depends on electricity to breathe, eat, and receive essential medication due to his disabilities. Living in Odesa, Tetiana describes the constant challenges brought by the ongoing war, which has seen Russian attacks devastate energy infrastructure across the country. With blackouts lasting up to 12 hours daily in her neighborhood, Tetiana relies on a petrol-driven generator that requires frequent refueling and cooling breaks, essential to maintaining a stable power supply for her son's critical needs.

The situation extends beyond Tetiana's plight, affecting millions of Ukrainians who face disruptions in water supply, lack of air conditioning in scorching temperatures, and inaccessible lifts in high-rise buildings during power outages. Since the full-scale invasion in February 2022, Ukraine has lost a significant portion of its power generation capacity, with vital energy facilities targeted and destroyed by Russian missiles and drones.

Maria Tsaturian of Ukrenergo, Ukraine's national energy company, explains the dire consequences of these attacks, noting the destruction of state-owned thermal and hydropower plants critical for the country's electricity supply. To manage the shortfall, Ukrenergo has implemented widespread power rationing, exacerbating daily life hardships and prompting widespread reliance on fuel-powered generators and large-scale battery banks.

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In Kyiv and other urban centers, residents like Roksolana face extended periods without electricity, impacting daily routines and safety measures. High-rise residents endure stifling conditions without air conditioning, while the inability to access bomb shelters during blackouts exposes them to increased danger from Russian airstrikes.

In Zaporizhzhia, dentist Volodymyr Stefaniv recounts the challenges of conducting surgeries amidst frequent power cuts, relying on generators and headlamps to ensure continuity of medical care. His experience treating soldiers on the front lines has equipped him with skills to perform critical procedures without electricity, a testament to the resilience of Ukraine's healthcare professionals amid adversity.

Despite criticism and frustration directed towards Ukrenergo for the prolonged outages, Maria Tsaturian emphasizes the gravity of the situation, underscoring the energy sector's strategic targeting by Russian forces to destabilize Ukrainian society. For Ukrainians like Tetiana, Volodymyr, and countless others, the ability to sustain basic necessities through these hardships is a testament to their resilience and determination amid the ongoing conflict.

July 6, 2024 1:07 p.m. 524

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