UAH 2 billion spent to renovate or construct infrastructure in the Donetsk region last year. This was money from the State Fund for Regional Development, as well as funds of the UNDP, the Government of Japan and international charity organizations. “Most of these funds were invested into basic infrastructure, schools and medicine,” said Pavlo Zhebrivskyi, head of Donetsk Region Civil-Military Administration at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center within UCMC project “Spokesperson of peaceful life”.
The funds of the State Fund for Regional Development were spent to renovate water supply infrastructure and three bridges, ruined by the militants, as well as power lines in five frontline villages. Now they receive energy from the government-controlled territory. An old bridge in Kostyantynivka was renovated too. International donors such as “People in Need” and ADRA helped to the civilians in the frontline zone to renovate their houses. A gas pipeline to Maryinka and Krasnogorivka has been constructed jointly with the Red Cross. “Unfortunately it cannot be launched yet as Russia-backed militants do not give us access to install a gas-distribution station,” said Pavlo Zhebrivskyi. A TV tower on Karachun hill has been reconstructed. As of today, it covers 63 km of territory.
Administrative Services Centers have been opened in Druzhkivka and in Mariupol. The latter was financed by both regional and city budgets as well as businesses.
Mariupol still faces the challenge to diversify its sources of water supply. At present, the water comes from the occupied territories. Should this infrastructure be damaged in action, 500 thousands of people living in Mariupol will be left without water. Construction of a canal to supply water from Dnipro river costs EUR 600 million and it would take five years. Another solution would be to desalinate water. The project costs EUR 50 million, however, the final price for consumers is has not been calculated yet. The third alternative is to supply water from the nearby water storage basins. However, for technical reasons it could be supplied only 6 hours per day and this would cause increase of price for consumers from other cities. “We try to find solution to this problem, but we would better wait for de-occupation and start using the full potential of Siversky Donets canal to supply water everywhere throughout the Donetsk region,” said Pavlo Zhebrivskyi.
UAH 80 million from the state budget and UAH 100 million from the regional budget were spent to renovate roads. There were nearly UAH 2,4 billion accumulated in the special regional budget for infrastructure. UAH 173 million were spent last year. “As of today, we signed contracts on over 580 projects and started implementation of 332 projects,” noted Pavlo Zhebrivskyi. The main challenge is the lack of professionals on design specifications and estimate as well as construction companies: most of them were based in Donetsk that is currently occupied. The authorities have to invite them from other regions.
60 ambulances were purchased and two Cardio Surgery and Pediatric Surgery Sections started their work in Kramatorsk. It was an urgent need for the region as a lot of ambulances and central regional hospitals left in the temporarily occupied Donetsk.
Schools in the frontline area damaged by shelling have been partly renovated. In addition, a renovated kindergarten for 250 children was opened in Mangush. Construction of a school in the social rehabilitation center “Emerald Town” (ukr. “Smaragdove Mistechko”) will be finished in the nearest future. 14 of 21 supporting schools have already started their work. “In March we will launch one school in Bylbasivka. Three more schools will be launched in April. They will be renovated and fully equipped. By September 1st, all these 21 schools and a hub school in Kramatorsk will be ready to start their work,” emphasized Mr. Zhebrivskyi.
Support to SMEs
As of today, small businesses produce only seven per cent of GDP of the Donetsk region. A program to encourage small entrepreneurs will be launched this year. Its budget is UAH 50 million. “We will offer internship in the countries of Eastern Europe for people who want to start their business. It will be funded by UNDP. After this they can develop a business plan and apply for a grant of UAH 200-250 thousand,” explained Pavlo Zhebrivskyi.