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Ukraine Desperation As Vital Supplies Run Dry

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In Luhansk, one of the areas to suffer most in the conflict, there is a growing humanitarian crisis as food and medical shortages render the population powerless.

The streets of central Luhansk are punctuated by shell damage. Shop after shop has closed down.

There has been periodic fighting nearby, but people have been living like this for eight months now.

Beyond the immediate conflict, is a growing humanitarian crisis.

Pensions here haven't been paid since September, so many people are now dependent on public canteens.

In one centre we visited staff were giving out a daily meal of soup, fruit juice, and two pieces of bread, but increasingly they find they are having to turn people away.

There is not enough food for all those who visit the public canteens

Social worker Igor Chaika said: "There are really a lot of people coming here, but we can only make 100 litres, which is 300 portions.

"We can't make more, some people are obviously upset by that - there is not enough for everyone."

Some of those left homeless by the conflict are living in university dorms.

We met a mother who had fled the shelling with her six-year-old son last summer. She said he still wakes up in fear at night.

Anna Kuznetsova told us: "He wakes up crying, and dresses himself up. He got used to doing that.

"A psychologist comes into the kindergarten, but he is afraid - as soon as it's loud he is afraid."

The water is off for most of the day, when it comes back on there's a long queue to fill up containers, and the water pressure is weak.

On the floor above, 77-year-old Nina Nikolayevna showed us where she is living.

She had her own flat this time last year, but now she's sharing a room with two other elderly ladies.

She said Doctors Without Borders had given them blankets and sheets, but they had seen no other humanitarian aid.

"We go to the social canteen, it starts at 11 and they feed us once, but you know what kind of food it is there," Ms Nikolayevna explained.

"They don't give us anything on Sunday, there's nothing."

One of her roommates, 64-year-old Nina Shershen, added: "No one helps us, we are people as well.

"It's not we who created this war, it is them who came here and destroyed everything - how can we live like this?"

At the city's cancer hospital, the head doctor, Dr Alexander Torba, showed us where their buildings had been shelled.

As a result, one of their nurses was killed last year.

Staff are now working without salaries and they have no running water, but their biggest concern is chemotherapy drugs.

Dr Torba says they have around one week's supply left: "The big problem is with the anti-tumour medicines. There is not enough in the pharmacies and it's expensive. People don't have money to buy it."

Irina Timachuk, 54, has stage one ovarian cancer and needs to start her next chemotherapy cycle in 20 days.

She said: "We need treatment and we want to live. We are not old yet; my life is not over yet. I want to live, that's it. If I don't receive treatment it's over."

Valentina Gukosen, 51, who has stage three ovarian cancer, added: "I want to ask for help. I want to live. I'm not that old, but what shall I do?"

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