LWF supports communities north of Kyiv
(LWI) - In Ukraine, humanitarian aid these days is also a race against time: Winter approaches, and many people don’t have inhabitable homes. Meanwhile, Russian attacks continue to destroy key infrastructure, such as power and water. The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) response in Ukraine is now operational and aims to serve 50,000 people in the areas of education; shelter; social cohesion; mental health and psychosocial support; and getting prepared for the cold winter months.
In Chernihiv oblast, where LWF works now, families are still feeling the impact of the invasion that has swept through their homes. Victoria Hlushko, a 41-year-old mother of two, is one of many whose house is no longer inhabitable, as the arrival of Russian military led to the destruction of her family home in Bil’machivka, in Ichnya municipality, Chernihiv Oblast.
On the invaders’ route
“I inherited this apartment from my father eight years ago,” says Victoria, “so my husband and our son and daughter have lived here for eight years. But this is also the place where I grew up.”
Victoria recalls the family being just about to enter the apartment when an explosion hit their building, as fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces took place along the road that runs outside the building.
They sought shelter in the building’s basement, but as smoke started to seep in from the explosion, they had to run out a back door and seek refuge in another building nearby.
Bil’machivka is a community of just over 500 people and was just on the route taken by Russian military forces marching towards Kyiv in the early days of the war. Many people lost their homes in this period, as fighting and attacks led to houses being either severely damaged, or simply razed to the ground.
I just want for my children to be healthy and safe.
Victoria HLUSHKO (41), inhabitant of Bil’machivka
“For now, we are staying in an old building in another part of the village,” Victoria says. “I don’t like to visit here on my own anymore. It feels bad to see this place destroyed. I come maybe once a month now.”
As winter is approaching and the war lingers on, she says her primary concern now is for her children. “I just want my children to be healthy and safe.”
No money to rebuild
Some way down the road lay the ruins of another family home in Bil’machivka.
Olena Vedmid lived in the house with her husband, their eighteen-year-old son, fourteen-year-old daughter, and four cats – two of which were killed when artillery blew the building to pieces.