Scarred by shelling that killed friends and neighbours

Publicado: 22 diciembre 2015 18:19 CET

By John Engedal Nissen, IFRC

For five days her district in the city of Horlivka was bombed.

Nadezhda, 58, hid in her garden, wearing only pyjamas. From there she saw people and cars tossed through the air by explosions.

“I was too scared to feel anything. I just hoped the bombs wouldn’t hit where I was,” she said. “It was terrifying to see the bombs flying through the air because I had no idea where they would hit.”

Although she escaped the blasts, others were not so lucky. Her neighbour and many people she knew were killed. The shelling and shooting eventually left the neighborhood in ruins.

The bombings were still falling, as Nadezhda fled the city, still only clad in pyjamas. She had been without electricity and water for 12 days.

She now lives in a shelter in Svyatohorsk together with other people forced to move by fighting and where the Ukrainian Red Cross Society is providing heating, emergency supplies and health care.

Nadezhda said: “The people from the Red Cross have changed my life. They have helped me mentally as I have struggled with the experience of seeing the bombings. But they have also helped me medically; I am often sick and cannot afford to go to the local hospital.”

Without a job, pension or savings, Red Cross support is a lifeline for Nadezha.

More than 1.4 million people are internally displaced in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Red Cross Society provides the most vulnerable with food, access to health, safe accommodation, hygiene kits and non-food items. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched an emergency appeal of nearly 20 million Swiss francs to support the humanitarian response of the National Society.