A Humanitarian Crisis
In February 2022, Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine.
Several months on, and 6.2 million people in Ukraine remain in need of shelter.
The situation is bleak – with the United Nations predicting the crisis will leave as many as 24 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
Read on to see how the cyclone affected people like Olga and Dina – and how ShelterBox aid is helping them find hope for brighter days.
A Hearty Bond
Olga and Dina are neighbours. They share the bonds of friendship that develop over many years of living next to each other.
They currently live in an apartment block, where they have both lived for forty years.
When Russia’s military action began, the pair stayed in their homes for as long as possible.
Forced to Flee
On March 4th, 2022, they had no choice but to leave.
“It was the most terrible night here. Grads* were shooting from here and from there. There were 8 grad vehicles nearby. We were in the basement. All the building was shaking terribly. When we came out from there, the house was without all windows, nothing was left”, explained Olga.
Dina added, “I was in my flat with my cat. When a tank shot nearby my cat rushed somewhere and I have never seen him since then. I have no idea where he is. I just remember how window glass was breaking all around, it was so scary”.
The next day, after volunteers evacuated them, a missile strike landed in the middle of the building. Although Olga and Dina’s apartments weren’t directly hit, they suffered a lot of collateral damage.
*Grads are how Ukrainians refer to multi-rocket launch missile systems
A month later, when Olga and Dina returned to their homes, they found there was no power, gas, or water.
As they walked through their home, glass crunched under their feet. Water had to be carried up the stairs.
With no windows intact, no heating, and temperatures dropping to zero overnight, the homes they returned to were chilling in every sense.
Home is Home
Although Olga and Dina’s homes need significant repairs to return them to their former comfort, they are where they want to be.
Fortunately, some precious mementoes survived – including Dina’s precious photo of her granddaughter, which a piece of shrapnel narrowly missed. These treasures have been helping make their apartments feel a little more welcoming.
Our ShelterKit’s are also providing the necessities to make their homes habitable again. Using their tools and tarpaulins, the pair are able to cover windows and stop the wind blowing in. Our thermal blankets are providing extra layers of warmth.
Hope for Brighter Days
As Mike from our distribution partner, ReliefAid, explained to the neighbours how the solar lantern worked, Olga pointed to Dina and said, “you put it in the sun every day to charge”.
“Maybe you need it more, one day I will use it, the next day you”, replied Dina.
Olga smiled at her friend and said, “no, they will give me one too”.
As they talked, Dina’s eyes shone in the light of her solar lantern – a beautiful symbol of hope for brighter days.