Kyiv/Luhansk (ICRC) – The partial reconstruction of the wooden footbridge of Stanytsia Luhanska was successfully completed on 9 December, making the crossing more secure and easier, especially in winter conditions, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The ICRC arranged for and supervised the replacement of the broken wooden ramps, which was carried out by a company and agreed upon by all concerned parties.
“Thousands of people have to walk over the bridge daily; it is particularly hard for the elderly, sick or the disabled. While this is not the full reconstruction we have proposed and we continue to work on, it will make the crossing less dangerous,” says Valter Gros, head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Luhansk. “Having a safer bridge is an urgent humanitarian need, and we will keep to engage with all parties to find a permanent and mutually acceptable solution for it.”
The ICRC has been in discussions for the last 18 months to replace the broken section of the bridge, and continues to stand ready to act as a neutral intermediary to find a mutually accepted solution.
The dilapidated pedestrian bridge of Stanytsia Luhanska is the only crossing point between government and non-government-controlled areas in the Luhansk region. Over 8,000 people are crossing the bridge on a daily basis; queuing may take hours, forcing people to endure freezing temperatures or summer heat. The ICRC, together with local Red Cross volunteers, maintains shelters on both sides of the bridge where people may sit down, warm up, have a cup of tea, and benefit from first aid. A recently opened first aid station on the government-controlled side is treating up to 20 patients per day.
The ICRC, a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization whose mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and to provide them with assistance, has offices in Kyiv, Odesa, Mariupol, Slaviansk, Sieverodonetsk, Donetsk and Luhansk.