Mass evacuations of the people from the flashpointsof Donbas began four years ago
According to the UN, over 2,5 thousand civilians have been killed and over 9 thousand have been injured since the outbreak of hostilities in Donbas. There might have been many more victims, if it were not for the mass evacuation of people which began four years ago.
On May 23, 2014, buses belonging to the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation started to evacuate women, children, disabled people and elderly persons from the flashpoints of Donbas. From May to December 2014, totally about 40 thousand civilians were evacuated, first, by the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation and then by the Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center. Almost 15 thousand of them are children.
Slavyansk was the first town which found itself in the midst of the armed conflict.
Shells smashed, the house trembled, – Inna, a Slavyansk resident recalls those days. – I was surprised the Internet was still working. I managed to type on the keyboard: "Who helps the residents of Slavyansk?" And immediately "The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation" appeared on the screen. We and maybe half the town were evacuated by the Foundation. We could hardly stay alive without being evacuated. Because many, many people have died there.
Kramatorsk, Nikolayevka, Gorlovka and many other cities in Donbass region were the next. In the beginning of the armed conflict in the east of Ukraine in 2014, the state had no experience and mechanisms of massive assistance to the civilians. The Foundation became the first organization in the country taking people out of the hot zone and assisting them with resettlement.
Transport operators, who were ready to go to the flashpoints, have been involved in the evacuation, since the rail transport and bus stations in the cities in the zone of the hostilities often did not operate.
The Foundation received calls for help around the clock, and its staff coordinated routes, searched for ways to accommodate people for free and calmed the people down. If necessary, the operators contacted the MES, ambulance, social services.
The Foundation transported full boarding schools, children's homes and orphanages of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions to a peaceful territory. It helped to resettle people – about 7 thousand were provided with transitional shelter on 29 recreation departments.
Besides, since the beginning of the armed conflict, displaced persons and people caught in the combat zone have faced a severe problem of food and medicines shortage.
"No one knew where to go, where to run, – recalls Larisa, a displaced women from Makeevka. – Money, as such, had no meaning. We couldn't spend them. All the stores and pharmacies were closed. Everyone from Donbass can tell you that. If they didn't help us, we wouldn’t be alive".
The Foundation helped provide medications, supplies for emergency surgeries and food baskets.
"From the first days of evacuation, Rinat Akhmetov started to give us food baskets, – says Alla, a displaced women from Shyrokino. – And that is how we survived, because there was no money, nothing at all. Now the Humanitarian Center provides my son with medications, without which he cannot get by a single day".
the Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center was established , three months after the commencement of evacuation, in August 2014, in order to prevent a humanitarian disaster in Donbas and provide maximum assistance to the civilian population affected by the armed conflict. It is the largest project of the Foundation, thanks to which more than a million lives were saved.