14 August 2014 Ukraine update: Families in war zone affected by infrastructure failures Two boys from an SOS Children's Villages programme in Ukraine. Photo: Marko Mägi. 14 August 2014 - The humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine is deteriorating. In Lugansk, families that have not left are finding it even more difficult to get basic needs met. The city of Lugansk, Ukraine, where SOS Children's Villages has been working since 2003, remains a war zone and there is shelling and gunfire across the city. After months of fighting, the infrastructure that supports civilisation and survival, is falling apart. An update from SOS Children's Villages co-workers on the ground in the region follows: SOS Children's Villages operates programmes in two regions of Ukraine: Brovary and Lugansk. Lugansk has been heavily affected by the ongoing conflict between Ukrainian government forces and separatists loyal to Russia. Image: SOS Children's Villages Reports differ on the number of people still in Lugansk; the municipality believes 250,000 residents remain out of an original population of around 400,000, but there are also reports that only 100,000 people remain. Ninety out of the roughly 150 local families SOS Children's Villages regularly supports through its Family Strengthening Programme have become Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) within Ukraine, having been forced to leave their homes. A humanitarian corridor in and out of Lugansk appears to be functioning, but the city's infrastructure is worsening every day. Residents who remain in Lugansk have been without electricity, clean drinking water and gas for two weeks now; welfare payments have been interrupted and there are problems with food supplies. Since 1 August there has been no mobile phone service in the region. The school year is supposed to begin on 1 October in eastern Ukraine, but the possibility of resuming normal educational programmes in these areas is unlikely at the moment. Last week SOS Children´s Villages Ukraine participated in a forum organised by UNICEF to address education challenges in the war-torn territories. During the past three weeks there has been another wave of currency depreciation. The economic situation remains unstable and Ukraine very much depends on Western support. More information on Ukraine and SOS Children's Villages' work to help children there is available here.