Alchevsk (Ukrainian: Алчевськ, translit. Alchevs'k, Russian: Алчевск) is a town in the Luhansk Oblast (province) of south-eastern Ukraine. It belongs to Pereval'skiy Raion (district), and is located approximately 45 km from the oblast capital, Luhansk, and right next to the district capital of Perevalsk.
The current estimated population is 120,000 (as of 2004).
Alchevsk is one of the largest industrial centers in the Donbas, and comprises a quarter of the entire oblast's production. The city economy depends on OJSC "Alchevsk Iron & Steel Works" and "Alchevsk Coke-Chemical Plant" companies.
The city was known as Voroshylovsk (Ukrainian: Ворошиловськ) from 1931 to 1961, and then Komunarsk (Ukrainian: Комунарськ) until 1991.
Alchevsk was founded in 1895 with the establishment of an iron works, which benefited from massive expansion in the 1950s and '60s.
Winter disaster of 2006 On January 22, 2006, the district heating system of the city almost entirely collapsed after an underground heat pipe line cracked in unusually freezing weather. As a result, heating equipment in the majority of Alchevsk's buildings was frozen and ruptured, leaving about 60,000 residents with only the protection of individual electric heaters. A few days later the sewage system also froze due to a lack of warm tap water.
An investigation revealed the massive, long-time negligence of the city authorities. The whole heating system was designed in a hyper-centralized way, depending on only two boilers and few main pipelines. Moreover, the housing company failed to react to the pipe incident properly: the water from the system wasn't immediately dumped to prevent further freezing.
The Ukrainian government took massive emergency actions to protect Alchevsk residents from freezing. Engineering teams sent by cities and industrial companies from other regions of the country were gradually restoring heating appliances in every apartment affected. Hundreds of children together with their schoolteachers were evacuated to the resorts and hotels in the warmer regions of Ukraine. According to the governor of Luhansk Oblast G. Moskal, it has been the worst human-made disaster in the history of independent Ukraine.
The economic consequences of the disaster for the city are unclear---including the central government's subsidization of the total replacement of the heating system in every apartment.
Ukraine (Ukrainian: Україна, transliterated: Ukrayina) is a country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia to the east; Belarus to the north; Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary to the west; Romania and Moldova to the southwest; and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south. The city of Kiev (Kyiv) is both the capital and the largest city of Ukraine.