Mia is 66 years old. She was born in a village in the Mykolaiv Oblast, 3h30 north of Odessa and almost 4h hours from Mykolaiv city. For some time she lived in Mykolaiv city, working at multiple jobs, but not earning enough money to live on, she had to return to her native village.
Mia has no job but receives a small pension for her retirement. Unfortunately, she is in poor health; the city being actively shelled by rockets, she has been living in a basement since April. Humidity, lack of sleep and poor nutrition have aggravated her condition.
“It is impossible to buy food, we get it from volunteers. There is no water, light, heating or means of communication in the village.”
“Homes are badly damaged. We are waiting for victory. There is a war going on. Our city is constantly shelled. It is very unsafe to live here. Everything was fine before the war, and now the village is destroyed, there is not a single house left. Now it has turned into a ghost town. The family and friendship ties are broken, the war has scattered loved ones across the country.”
Before the war she had a household and provided for herself. She used to work in a bakery but is now retired. Now the bakery has been destroyed, there is nothing left for people.
The school was near the bakery, she recalls, there was one building for junior students and another for senior classes. All that remains are the memories of the children and teenagers who used to attend the classes, the memory of the school bell, the children laughing, shouting. But now it’s all awfully quiet. The school buildings are gone. Now kindergartens and hospitals are destroyed.
The city had all the facilities needed. There were markets and shops. The region was rich in fertile land, there were many farmers, crops were growing, there was life. There were also different factories around, one of them was a sugar factory, she remembers.
“Before the war we raised ducks and geese, had a garden, a summer house, access to the pond. Now, we spend most of our days in the basement. We live in Mykolaiv oblast, 4 hours away from Mykolaiv city. Here, no more than 10 to 15% of the population has stayed. Our living conditions are quite harsh. We cook food using firewood.”
Mia thought about fleeing and leaving her home behind, but it’s not easy.
“To leave you need to hire transport and pay a lot of money. It is very scary , there is constant shelling. Organizing such a trip is very complicated. I only want victory and peace. It is very scary to live here.”
Through cash assistance, Mia received 6660 UAH (around 168 euros) to enable her to cover her basic needs.
I am very grateful because I was able to buy the necessary medicines and it improved my health. I will save some of the money, I plan to invest it in the reconstruction of the house. We are waiting only for peace, to return to the life that we once had.
ACTED, with the financial support of the European Union provides cash assistance as part of a national response alongside ERC. The most vulnerable people receive cash assistance for 3 months, which will be used mostly to provide for immediate needs such as food and medicine.