The Red Cross and local authorities in Ukraine are rushing to set up heated shelters as the country continues to grapple with power shortages following Russian attacks on energy infrastructure.
The humanitarian organisation has been operating shelters in residential areas near the centre of Kyiv. Locals have been dealing with blackouts since a Russian missile attack damaged a nearby power station about a week ago.
Workers and volunteers were trying to set up more heated shelters on Monday to prepare for the full-fledged start of winter.
People can go to large tents equipped with power generators to stay warm and recharge their cell phones. Hot tea, coffee and snacks are also provided.
A Red Cross official in charge of the area said about 1,500 people used the shelters during a three-day period last week.
The official expressed concerns about the health of elderly citizens who are living alone in houses that do not currently have power. The official added the Red Cross will work with local governments and volunteers to help people survive the blackouts and the cold winter.
Speaking to Euronews, Ukraine’s Deputy Infrastructure Minister, Oleksandra Azarkhina, said energy shortages are "bad", but "not something we were not expecting". She said Kyiv is focusing on air defence to protect their cities.
"We're working to prepare the facilities and to be more resilient against all kinds of attacks. For sure, there is some possibility to organise so-called passive defence[s]. But again, it's never enough.”
Azarkhina continues: “We understand that if Russia will still have more of new capabilities, new weapons, as, for example, Iranian-provided drones, that would make us more problems. And the only solution we have now, it's just to decentralise all processes, to make all possible ways to support the cities, support the critical infrastructure. And frankly speaking, [the] majority of Ukrainians are looking for solutions to be more independent and energy efficient in their own houses."
The Ukrainian government says 40 per cent of the country's power infrastructure has been damaged by Russian attacks.