“After 2 rockets were dropped near the basement where we were hiding in the city of Kharkiv and our windows were blown out, we decided that we had to leave the city to save our lives. First, we stayed in the Kharkiv region in our relatives. However, after it became dangerous there too, we moved to the Vinnytsia region. Since we left the city with nothing, we faced with the problem of finding housing, paying utilities and accessing basic needs.”
“We received cash assistance from ACTED in the amount of 6,660 per person for 3 months. It helps us pay utilities and buy essentials: shoes and summer clothes since we left the city in winter clothes, an electric kettle since gas is expensive and food. Thank you very much for as without this help it would be very difficult.“
“I am now in Kyiv. The situation here is tense. Approximately half of the population has left, the other half is in anticipation of an attack. The massive outflow of workers led to interruptions in the supply of provisions and medicines. Also, panic buying had a negative impact on the availability of food and medicine. Part of the warehouses and logistics centers near Kyiv were destroyed. Other supply channels are now being established. Utilities are operating as normal, and medical facilities have been strengthened”
“I feel calm, confident and tired. My working day starts at 7 am and ends after 11 pm. I try to sleep and eat normally. I pay special attention to psychological health, information and hygiene”
Western Ukraine is now home to thousands of people who have fled besieged or near-sieged areas. Many displaced people have taken refuge in collective centers (gymnasiums, schools, churches, hotels, etc.) or with host families. As thousands of displaced people fleeing the bombing continue to stream into the region, teams are working with shelters and local partners to provide emergency assistance to those most in need, distributing hot meals and basic necessities.
In a dormitory hastily set up in the premises of the Polytechnic University of Lviv, around 50 people are sharing a hot meal distributed by ACTED teams. Among them, Oxane, 52 years old. She arrived on March 2nd with her husband from Kyiv.
We left, my husband and I, with just this small bag, some clothes, cookies, and a train ticket to leave Kyiv.
Oxane is a professor, she teaches Ukrainian literature, her husband Volodia is a security guard. They have a son who left for Hungary at the end of last year. “We wanted to join him, but my husband is less than 60 years old, he can be mobilized and is not allowed to leave.” Volodia, her husband, listens to the conversation, dejected. Oxane often cries. Her world is crumbling down. She is constantly afraid, she doesn’t know what to do, she doesn’t understand anything anymore: “It’s unimaginable!” “.
Words from the field: Our colleagues tell us about Lviv
There are now a dozen of them working from ACTED’s office in Lviv. They come from the Donbass and other Ukrainian regions, but also from Armenia and Quebec. They tell us how their daily lives have been transformed, and how they have all mobilized and redoubled their efforts to respond to the emergency.
During an emergency, everything has to be done from scratch, you have to face it. It’s a race. Some people have arrived with their families: they have to find accommodation, find solutions after having left in a hurry. And above all, you have to adapt, while the warning sirens ring out in the city.
Anna has just joined the teams in Lviv. Originally from the Kharkiv region, Anna had returned to her apartment in Kyiv last October, after a mission with ACTED in Kabul. She recounts:
In one night I was in another world: I woke up in my country, but in the middle of a conflict. Everything was different. What struck me the most at first was to see the streets of Kyiv deserted, the stores closed, the cafes with their curtains down. It was strange.
Anna speaks with a soft voice, she seems very calm. She arrived in Lviv the day before, by train, after many hours of travel. The next morning she was in the office, ready to mobilize for emergency operations. She took only a very small bag with her, “to make room for the others“, she says. Her books, clothes and belongings remained in her apartment in Kyiv. “It doesn’t matter,” she says, “I’ll get all my things later”.
From now on, she coordinates part of ACTED’s activities in Ukraine from Lviv. She has no intention of leaving her country nor her family. “The people I know, my friends, my relatives, do not want to go, they don’t want to leave“. She feels even more committed and motivated: “What I do here will be for people I know, whose lives I share”.