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Loss of limb

L. D. is a 60 year Ukrainian woman. When the war began she was living in the Donetsk region. On April 6, 2022 she was walking down a street when the shelling began. L. lost her left leg and her right arm was seriously injured. She received medical aid at the place of the incident, was then taken to the hospital and operated on.

As a result of the operation, a stump from the left thigh was formed and sutures were applied to the popliteal fossa of the right leg. The diagnosis: traumatic amputation of the lower extremity, level unspecified.

She is now in Lviv and has stayed at one of our refugee centers. She has a caregiver who helps her with her daily routine but despite all the good intentions, L requires professional medical attention and care.

19 year old writes ‘we wept’

K.K. is a 19 year old from Mariupol, where she was born and has lived all her life. “When you run away from war, it seems that you flee and it’s still following you.

Before the war, I studied history at the university in Mariupol; I had a job. Everything was fine. People lived their own lives and dreamed about the better future. On February 24, our mother woke us up and said that the war started. We got up and covered our windows first then sat in the corridor. We thought that maybe they would shoot once or twice as they did in 2014 and that would be all. But in a short time, we realised that that was going to last long. It seemed that the city was gradually burning down and the flame killed everything that we loved. It was chaos in the city. People stole everything from the stores. We didn’t have electricity and gas, so we cooked our food on the bonfire outside. We hid in the basement.

People from every 9-story apartment building gathered together, cooked, heated water and tried to bring all food they could find in the building, if it was possible. We would leave everything near the buildings or in the shelter. We brought food to each other and helped with everything we could. Before leaving, we couldn’t even go up to our apartment, we just couldn’t take such a risk. Then upper stories were ruined by bombing and it was impossible to get there. Probably, the most scary thing was to see death. Dead people were lying on the streets. One older man was going to give food to his bed-fasten mother and was shot. Children were buried rolled in blankets; they died from hunger and chronic diseases; it was cold and damp in the basement, and they just couldn’t breathe. There were at least 10 graves near each apartment building. Each time we walked around, there were new graves. People wanted to leave, but there were no humanitarian corridors provided. Later, Russians just didn’t allow people to leave. You can only go to Donetsk republic; those who want to go to Ukraine are turned around.

My great-grandmother, mother, and my aunt with her husband are still in Mariupol and many of my friends as well. My mom couldn’t leave her mother, who lives in the far side of the city that borders with the territory of Donetsk republic; and we didn’t want to live under Russians. We had to get to Ukraine somehow. We promised my mom that we will take her to Ukraine after the war is over. It’s impossible to do it at the moment.

We left on the 13th day of war. We walked through the entire city to get to the block post. Then we walked to the nearby village, trying to find someone who could drive us to Berdiansk. There we waited for evacuation buses. When we were waiting in the line, a person we didn’t even know offered to take us to Z. with them and we agreed. We passed 25 Russian and 7 Ukrainian block posts. At each of them we were searched, undressed, asked questions, our cellphones were checked. It was scary, because after we passed the last Russian block post, we drove through the mined area; one false move could end our lives right there. When we passed the first Ukrainian block post, our driver stopped to get some rest; we went out of the car and wept.

We are in Lviv now. We are thankful for a place where we can live, food, hygiene supplies that you provide us and for looking for a place where we can go from here. As soon as we came here, we knew that this was the place for us to find rest and calm down.