In Mariupol, an 'Endless Caravan of Death'

Many wrecked buildings hold 50 to 100 bodies each, official says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2022 6:57 AM CDT
In Mariupol, an 'Endless Caravan of Death'
Russian workers disassemble a destroyed building in Mariupol, Friday, May 27, 2022.   (AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov)

Mariupol is now under Russian control and the bombardment of civilian buildings has ended—but death is still a constant presence in the Ukrainian port city. Petro Andryushchenko, an aide to the city's mayor, says many wrecked buildings in the city hold 50 to 100 bodies each and they are being taken in an "endless caravan of death" to landfills and other places, the AP reports. The city's leaders, who are operating in exile, and other Ukrainian authorities estimate at least 21,000 civilians died during the Russian siege.

Andryushchenko says decomposing bodies are contaminating the city's water sources, raising the risk of a cholera outbreak that could kill thousands more, the Washington Post reports. He said Russian officials recently brought in a quarantine. "Spontaneous burials are still in almost every yard in Mariupol," the city council said on Telegram this week. "Bodies are rotting under the rubble of hundreds of high-rise buildings. And it literally poisons the air." The council said the relentless Russian bombardment of the city had destroyed water and sewer infrastructure as well as medical facilities.

"There are swamps, actually, in the streets and the sewage water and drinking water are getting mixed," Dorit Nitzan, a regional emergency director at the World Health Organization, warned last month. "This is a huge hazard. It’s a hazard for many infections, including cholera." Ukrainian authorities say Russian forces are using the same tactics they used in Mariupol in the battle for Sievierodonetsk in Luhansk province, the AP reports. "Everything the Russian army has—artillery, mortars, tanks, aviation—all of that, they’re using in Sievierodonetsk in order to wipe the city off the face of the Earth and capture it completely," Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said. (Read more Mariupol stories.)

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