The war which is impossible to forget and which should not happen again. BLOG of Natalia Yemchenko, Director of Public Relations and Communications of SCM
Never again. There are terrible things that should never happen again. Neither with us, nor with our children, nor with our grandchildren. We must not transfer such anti-heritage. For me, this is the war, foremost, the war in Donbass.
That is why we must know and remember the war that happened and which is still going on. We must remember it in details, in figures, in faces … To be sure the war never happens again it is important to remember how many civilians died, how many people were injured and became disabled, how many children are among them, how many people suffered the war trauma (I am talking about psychological trauma), who supported and is supporting its victims and in what way.
The war in Donbass has been lasting for more than three years. Millions of people have been on the edge of starvation and beyond it for three years. Almost every day people die and suffer wounds for three years.
For three years, in the Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center we have been helping hundreds of thousands to struggle and survive. The decision to establish the Humanitarian Center made by Rinat Akhmetov in August 2014 became fateful. It was the beginning of unprecedented story of support, compassion, integration and trust, which is an integral part of humanitarian catastrophe.
In 2014, in the Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center we grappled, at a cruising speed, for ways and means to help the victims of this war in order to save them. Overcoming overall skepticism, obstacles, tiredness, with absolute commitment we learned to listen to and feel each other and people whom we are supporting, to feel pain, share joy and accept thanks of the other person.
For me, three years of the Center existence is a story full of respect for thousands of volunteers and employees. You are heroes. We are proud of you. But for you we should not have saved over a million of human lives.
Evacuation, resettlement, hotline since May 2014 ... All throughout the day, the employees of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, their husbands, wives, children were on the phone to arrange and evacuate almost 40 thousand people from the hell of the war. It was the most important task. Again and again we found strength to say the most important words: ‘Things will come right. You will be safe’.
The first convoys with food packages were dispatched in August-September 2014. There were giant queues at the issuing points. Impossible logistics, impassability, shelling, unprecedented geography of support … The Humanitarian Center delivered food packages to hundreds of cities and villages. Nowadays, it is more than 10 million packages. Now the volunteers visit flashpoint areas, where people still live, almost every day. Again, simple and important words for people: ‘We remember you, we will not leave you’.
Three years of the Humanitarian Center existence … These are thousands of human stories about adults and children. I remember them by their names. I remember their faces, relatives. Every story is breathtaking.
Vladik, Milana, Danya, Masha, Katya, Sasha ... About fifty wounded children with the war in their eyes. They became our inspiration. They are winners in their terrible stories. They recover, undergo rehabilitation and get on with their life.
A 4-year-old Angelina is glad of it with all heart to have drugs, thanks to them she is able to walk. Any adult can envy of her will power and aspiration to live to the full. She just does not know and does not believe that other things happen in life. A lot of challenges are waiting for her in future. But the main challenge of her small but sincere faith she has already underwent perfectly.
A 74-year-old Tamara Andreyevna was eagerly waiting at home for our volunteers with food package. She regularly, several times a week, called us to share emotions, say thank you and encourage – gently, furtively, sincerely. Unfortunately, she had no one else to say these words.
We remember all these people by their names.
This summer, the third summer of the war, a new UN report was issued. It contained new terrible figures: for the period from 16 February 2017 to 15 May 2017, 193 civilians from Donbass were killed and wounded among them there were 13 children. This is 48% more compared to the period of the late autumn-winter of 2016-2017.
The piece is yet to come. And we must remember every victim of this war, support those who are in trouble, go above and beyond to help them to survive and to pacify to be sure the war never happens again.