Kyiv hospital staff and new mums hatch blackout plans

Ella Castle

KYIV, Oct 21 (Reuters) – As the Ukrainian capital braces for power blackouts after Russia rained missiles on the country’s electricity infrastructure, patients and staff at one Kiyv hospital are putting a brave face on the situation. Backup generators and battery packs are among ways they plan to keep the […]

KYIV, Oct 21 (Reuters) – As the Ukrainian capital braces for power blackouts after Russia rained missiles on the country’s electricity infrastructure, patients and staff at one Kiyv hospital are putting a brave face on the situation.

Backup generators and battery packs are among ways they plan to keep the hospital running while patients aim to seek out wood stoves to fight off the winter cold if the power goes out.

Trolleybuses and metro trains in Kyiv have already reduced their services and officials have warned of rolling blackouts if people do not minimise their use of electricity during the day after two rounds of missile strikes on power supplies.

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New mother Irina Koladenko said her family had thought through how to keep her baby girl warm once they get home.

“I have prepared ‘action plan’,” the 27-year-old said. “At my parents’ place there are stoves and a fireplace so it will be warm … I hope I will breastfeed so there will not be a problem with (warming) the baby’s food.”

Moscow says it does not target civilians in Ukraine but the defence ministry has acknowledged targeting energy infrastructure in what it calls a “special military operation” to degrade the country’s military.

Smoke rises after a Russian drones strike in Kyiv, Ukraine October 17, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

The hospital director, who declined to be named, said years of struggle since 2014, when Russian forces annexed Crimea from Ukraine and backed a separatist takeover of parts of the country’s industrialised east, meant the facility was prepared.

“We have had a diesel generator for the past seven years to help us in case of any power cuts,” he said.

Advanced medical apparatus had internal and external battery backup. “There are a few levels of security that guarantee that, for instance, a patient on a respirator or a patient undergoing surgery is not affected by a power cut,” he said.

Timofii was born on Monday, the day of a second wave of attacks on thermal power plants, exactly a week after the first.

“We have bought candles,” his mother Lidia said, adding that her husband was planning to buy gas heaters and they already had torches and power banks.

“If the situation in Kyiv gets much worse and there is no heating we will consider moving out of the city to a place where there is a stove.”

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Reporting by Vitalii Hnidyi; Writing by Philippa Fletcher; Editing by Alison Williams

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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