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Ukraine conflict: A carer, a civilian and a volunteer

Since the start of the Ukraine conflict, more than three million people have passed through Lviv, a city in the west where the borders of five neighbouring countries converge. 

Most travel further into Europe becoming refugees, but the city and its surroundings has taken in around 500,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) since the start of the conflict, according to official data, and there are probably even more.

Nina, 70, volunteers at the train station to support those who are arriving with medical care and logistical support on directions, sourcing food and finding a safe place to stay. 

Before the onset of the current conflict, Nina lived alone at her home in Mykolaiv after her husband passed away a few years ago. For more than 20 years Nina had been the main carer for her husband who suffered from myelopathy and atherosclerosis which left him paralysed. 

To ensure she was providing the best possible care to her husband, Nina attended nursing courses and received medical training to assist people with basic medical needs. 

Nina was force to flee her home when her home town was surrounded by the the conflict. A mother of two daughters, she left her home and helped others find safety by joining an evacuation train.

Living with her youngest daughter and grandchildren in Kyiv, Nina speaks to us about her current role as a volunteer.  

I took the so-called evacuation train to Lviv via Odessa. The journey was not safe, as there were bombings along the way. The train was packed full of people and their pets. I stood in the corridor.

Now I live here in Lviv with my daughter's family.

Since March 15, I have been working as a volunteer at the train station as I have attended nursing courses and have care-giving experience, after looking after my late husband for 20 years.

I do health checks, and provide information about where and when they can find food, and, of course, accommodation, as well as the schedule of buses that take people onto Poland.

There are people who fled in panic and took almost nothing with them, and those who were better prepared. But they are all mentally stressed. Everyone has their own war on their mind.

I had an older lady who just thought she was on an adventure trip. “We will finally visit Europe,” she said. Or a young woman with a child, who immediately threw herself on the ground in a panic when the air raid sirens started howling.

I come almost every day, six days a week. The shift lasts four hours, but I usually stay a little longer. It helps me a lot to cope with the situation and not think all the time.

Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal

Age International has been working in Ukraine since 2014, and uniquely positioned to deliver a widescale emergency response to the crisis. We're delivering aid to older people and those who need it the most inside Ukraine and to those who have been able to flee to neighbouring countries.

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Last updated: Jul 04 2022

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