Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

A collapsed sewerage system and an acute water crisis are causing misery to the residents of Kharkov, Ukraine's 2nd largest city. Up to 200,000 cubic metres of untreated sewage has been pouring daily into the 3 rivers running through the city. Add to this the long lines for water, and the picture of a break-down in basic infrastructure is complete in this former state of the Soviet republic.

To tide over the unprecedented situation, many residents in this city of 1.5 million responded to a recent appeal by local authorities to leave town for country dachas until the water supply was resumed. "When the system was built, we simply did not foresee this. Our equipment is old and inadequate,' explains Viktor Gaidarzh. head of the city's civil defense administration.

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