Red Cross tweets about desperation in Mariupol

An International Committee of the Red Cross official tweeted about the dire situation in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which has come under intense Russian shelling. The official says many people are suffering from shortages of electricity, gas and drinking water, while living in extreme cold.

The ICRC tweeted the voice of Sasha Volkov, its deputy head of the Mariupol sub-delegation, on Thursday and Friday.

Volkov said around 65 people live in the building that houses the local ICRC office. He said the mothers and their children under 12 slept in the basement, while others stayed in the office. He said some have started to get sick from the damp and cold, and electricity is only available for three to four hours a day.

He added that he had tried to maintain hygiene standards, but that was not always possible.

Volkov said residents of the building still have supplies of drinking water, but will have to boil water from a stream when they run out.

He described living conditions outside the building as worse than inside.

For now, he said people can still find water as the city council delivers bottles to some important places, although supplies are not sufficient.

He said all the shops and pharmacies were looted four or five days ago and while some people still had food, he didn’t know how long it would last. He added that many people need medicine, especially diabetes and cancer patients.

He said he was doing what he could to help others, including providing people on the streets with electricity from a generator. He said they could charge their phones to use as flashlights at night.

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