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Ukraine conflict: We fled but must go back

Many of the older people Age International is supporting had to leave their homes and livelihoods behind due to the conflict in Ukraine, fleeing to other cities or countries. But despite the conflict, not everyone feels they can afford to stay away from their homes for long.

Mykola, 59, and Tetiana, 61, are faced with figuring out how they can safely travel back to their farm in the Mykolaiv area to take care of their livestock.

“The city of Mykolaiv is very close to the war zone and is constantly being shelled by the Russians. They even shelled our village with artillery. Our neighbour’s house was hit and completely destroyed. Our roof was damaged, but we can fix it.

We left on 16 March and arrived here in Lviv on 19 March. The trip took us three full days. It was dangerous, especially in the beginning. We had to go to Odessa by bus first. The bus had to make numerous detours. We were always afraid. There were roadblocks and no one knew exactly where the Russians were. Then we got on the train and came here. That trip alone took us 24 hours.

We are now accommodated with almost 100 others in the Lesi Theatre in Lviv. We have been here in this theatre for 25 days now. But we want and need to go back.

Our village has about 2,000 inhabitants. We have two cows, calves and chickens on the farm. Our neighbour is now taking care of that. But she's 81, and it's all too much for her.

We have no income. We do not receive a pension because we have always been self-employed. We once received 2,000 hryvnia (about 65 euros), from the district administration.

The care here is good, but we must go back because the farm and the animals are our livelihood.

That will not be easy because there is no public transport anymore. We'll have to hire a taxi or a driver with a car if we can find one willing to take the risk. And that won't be cheap. But there is no other way.”

Thanks to donations to the DEC appeal, Age International is supporting older people affected by the conflict in Ukraine. With our partner HelpAge, we are providing food and essentials to older people who are unable to flee as well as those who have been displaced from their homes by the fighting within Ukraine, like Mykola and Tetiana, and those who have fled to neighbouring countries like Moldova and Poland. 

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Last updated: Jun 16 2022

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