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«Evacuation» project: two years later


Today, May 23, marked two years since the first buses of Rinat Akhmetov Foundation started evacuating women with children and elderly people from the hot spots of Donbas. Altogether in 2014 the team of Rinat Akhmetov Foundation helped 39,462 Donbas civilians to leave the conflict area, 14,784 of them were children.

In May 2014 the first major hostilities started in Sloviansk, the town with 100,000 residents. And among the first ones to help them was Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, and later the Humanitarian Center, which united the Foundation, SCM companies and Shakhtar football club.

First and foremost the Center evacuated the most vulnerable civilians: women, children, elderly people and those staying in state social institutions and orphanages. Due to shelling people were initially taken to Sviatohirsk, and later the routes were developed to the coast of Azov Sea, Dnipropetrovsk region and other towns of Ukraine, such as Kharkiv, Izium and Kurakhove. To evacuate people, Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center attracted the carriers willing to go to hot spots, as the railway transport and bus stations did not work in these settlements.

The phone calls from residents of Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Mykolaivka, Horlivka and other Donbas towns were accepted by the first Humanitarian Center's hotline that worked 24/7.  The operators coordinated the routes, helped with tickets, found some options with free accommodation and provided psychological support. If necessary, an operator contacted the Ministry of Emergencies, ambulance or social services. The Humanitarian Center got new partners: 'Tvoya Peremoha' (Your Victory) public organization, 'Let's Save Ukraine' mutual help centre, 'Slavic Heart' volunteers, 'Donbas SOS' and 'Vostok SOS' volunteer organizations.

"Two years ago the team of Rinat Akhmetov Foundation and our partners from 'Say No to Orphanhood' project – Petro Dudnyk, Viktoriia Fedotova, Tetiana Nosach and Natali Kirkach – started evacuating orphans, women with children and elderly people from Sloviansk. Back then we thought that it was all temporary, one more day and everything would come to an end, – Darya Kasyanova, Program and project manager at Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, remembers. – Unfortunately, the armed conflict is continuing. It is obvious now that the number of casualties, including children, could be a lot higher, if not the mass evacuation of people from the area of military actions during the first months of hostilities.

The Humanitarian Center helped the most vulnerable IDPs with accommodation for the start. As a result, about 7,000 people were provided with temporary housing at 29 recreation centres. After the evacuation people were staying in summer recreation centres for the period from one week to several months. Those IDPs, who decided to leave the temporary housing, were provided with "start-up" certificates for financial aid at UAH 1,500 per each family member.