Cholera and other fatal diseases might kill tens of thousands of people in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, its mayor predicted on Friday, as corpses remain uncollected and summer comes warmer weather.
Mayor Vadym Boichenko stated that the bodies of those murdered during weeks of Russian bombing and siege had contaminated wells and that the recovery of bodies by the Russian invaders of the city was moving slowly.
"There is dysentery and cholera outbreak. Sadly, this is the prognosis of our physicians: the conflict, which has already claimed the lives of over 20,000 Mariupolites, will claim the lives of thousands more due to these outbreaks of infection, "he announced on national television.
Boichenko, based outside of Mariupol, said the city had been quarantined.
Ukraine reports that there are approximately 100,000 inhabitants in Mariupol, a once-vibrant metropolis with a population of roughly 430,000 before the war but is now a desolate urban wasteland.
Boichenko stated that the Russian shelling had transformed Mariupol into a "medieval ghetto" and that inhabitants were forced to drink water from wells since the city lacked flowing water and a working sewerage system.
He encouraged the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to develop a humanitarian corridor to assist civilians fleeing the city, which, according to Ukrainian officials, lacks central water, electricity, and gas supplies.
Last month, the World Health Organization warned of a potential cholera outbreak in Mariupol.
On Friday, the British Ministry of Defense warned of the possibility of a significant cholera outbreak in Mariupol, where medical systems were likely on the verge of failure.
According to the report, Russia struggles to deliver essential public services to the population in Russian-occupied territory.
Russia did not immediately respond to Boichenko's and the British defense ministry's claims. Moscow claims that its "special military operation" is to disarm and "de-nazify" Ukraine, and Kyiv and its supporters refer to it as an unprovoked invasion of territory.