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Three seconds to save three people’s lives

HealthThree seconds to save three people's lives

LVIV, Ukraine – “I heard different sounds. Zina recounts how she realized that we only had three seconds to get to the corridor to lie down and then grab her husband and daughter to shelter. It felt like a year.

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Their home was destroyed in minutes.

Zina, her husband Sergiy, and their 19-month old daughter Alice all lost everything to the attacks on that fateful day. They survived the blasts thanks to thick apartment block walls that protected them from the blasts. Zina claims that Sergiy and she protected Alice by covering her with their bodies.

The apartment’s windows were broken to pieces, which exposed them to freezing temperatures. Glass was also found on the floor, some of it as deep as ankle depth. It was unsafe to leave the area due to the continued bombing for 12 hours.

Zina says, “The next morning we went to Kharkiv Metro.” “We stayed there for 32 days and night,” Zina says.

Zina said, “We put tulips all over.” “If you are lucky enough to live somewhere, you should make it feel like home.”

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Volunteering underground

It was difficult to maintain a healthy body and mind due to the harsh, dusty, and cramped conditions of the metro. Zina was stressed by the fact that Alice, a child who had already survived two cancer-related surgeries, was already extremely vulnerable.

Zina states, “I couldn’t go outside.” “I had flashbacks of the explosions. It changes you. You can’t remain the same.

Zina said that she was determined to keep positive for her daughter and all children living in the metro. Zina wanted to help other children and families living underground, despite the negative effects on her mental health from losing her home and living in the metro station and trying to keep her family and herself healthy.

Zina says that Our girl called her and asked if she wanted to volunteer for WE and teach English. WE had provided supplies to a local partner, including recreation and early childhood development kits. This was in support of children who are sheltering at metro stations. Volunteers such as Zina have been able to provide emotional support and games for children in Kharkiv’s metro stations.

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It was a great help. Zina says that toys were available and that people offered their help. She adds, “It was amazing to see how close everyone really is, thousands of people in a station, but people would help me, like family.” “They were just children, they loved having classes and playing.”

Moving west if you are in poor health

Alice was eventually unable to walk due to the harsh conditions. “She couldn’t walk. Zina says that she was so sick and tired. She claims that this was when she decided to leave Alice’s safe metro station to seek help. Zina left the metro station to face the destruction above ground and her fears about the journey ahead. She set off for Lviv in the west. Sergiy stayed at the metro station to care for his parents.

Zina claims that she was stressed about the westward journey when Zina heard of the attack on Kramatorsk railway station. This station is a crucial route for thousands fleeing the east. They reached Lviv without any problems.

Alice is currently being cared for in Lviv’s children’s hospital, with her mother by her side. Zina states that this is the best care she could imagine. “They [the hospital staff] were all amazing, it felt like we had come home.”

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WE distributes life-saving equipment to children’s hospitals, including first aid kits and medical supplies, in cities like Lviv. These supplies are essential to relieve some of the stress being placed on hospitals in the region as more children die.

Zina states, “My job is to keep her happy,” “I need Alice for my health.”

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