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Epidemic Warning Issued Over Decrepit Tent City in Kiev's Maidan

According to Prosecutor General Vitaly Yarema, 158 criminal cases related to public disorder have been registered on the square since Feb. 20.

As Maidan holdouts continue to inhabit the increasingly squalid tent city established prior to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's ouster, Kiev doctors have sounded the alarm over the threat of an epidemic in the city center.

The biggest concerns at the moment, they say, are filthy linens and clothing, a lack of cleaning resources, inadequate cooking facilities and the sale of perishable products past their expiration dates, Interfax Ukraine reported Wednesday.

Since the protest tent camp was set up last November on the Maidan, or Independence Square, doctors have recorded 10 cases of intestinal infection among the camp's residents, believed to have been caused by unsanitary or spoiled food.

"If urgent measures are not taken to prevent the outbreak of infectious diseases and food poisoning, there is a threat of a sanitation epidemic in the central part of Kiev," a statement issued by Ukraine's State Sanitation-Epidemiological Service said.

Although most of the demonstrators involved in the protests that erupted last November have left the square since Yanukovych's February ouster, many remain camped out in the area.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said earlier this week that most of those who remain at the camp are devotees of fringe political groups.

He urged them to clear out and "take up weapons and go to the front lines" on Ukraine's 1+1 television channel on Sunday.

Prosecutor General Vitaly Yarema has also expressed concern about the camp, calling on Mayor Vitaly Klitschko last week to take urgent measures to clear out the area. According to Yarema, 158 criminal cases related to public disorder have been registered on the square since Feb. 20.

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