In the above photo L to R: Lena Director of placement for Disabled IDPs; John, Tanya, Olga & Igor who are Consignees, in the background is a man displaced from Donetsk City by Russia’s evil aggression and occupation.
I have arrived in Kyiv after leaving Odesa late Sunday afternoon.
In previous trips I have written about the large number of disabled and special needs people that were displaced when Russian troops invaded and occupied portions of Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea. Out of Donetsk City there were 250,000 removed. Most fled to Odesa where the hospitals and treatment centers could provide the care necessary. Of course such a large influx created and compounded problems.
We have helped this group in a number of ways. We have provided dry food mixes, linens, furniture, clothing, shoes, personal hygiene products, handicap assist mobility devices, and other resources.
The plight of these IDPs has been heartbreaking. They have been bounced from “pillar to post.” They are discouraged and feel betrayed by those who had offered assistance.
The last time I was in Odesa I met with this group in a large recreation center that had a number of dormitories used for summer vacationers. The IDPs had come in and did the best they could to winterize the lodging. But they were unwanted as they took up places that the tourists would rent and deprived some of those in charge of income. So they were moved from one place to another.
I found them this time at an abandoned juvenile detention compound. The compound has been abandoned for many years and is in great need to repair. There are multiple buildings and the main dormitory has five floors but only two are heated and have running water. The IDPs have asked the local government to allow them to stay but the compound is near the seaside so the government does not want them to stay. Those living in the compound have offered to do whatever they can to repair and improve the compound but most are handicapped and can do very little.
I met with Lena who is the Director of this group. She holds some position in the local government that deals with the handicapped and disabled. She is a true fighter and is persistent in pushing for the care and welfare of those in this group.
Igor and his wife Olga are the Consignees with which we work in Odesa. They have been true servants in assisting this group in many ways. They took me to the compound and walked with me through the tour that Lena gave of the facility and the survey of its needs.
The rooms are in great need of repair and the residents are desperate for furniture on any kind. In many rooms there are multiple people sleeping, eating, and storing all of their earthly possessions. There are no chests of drawers to store clothing. No adequate bedding to sleep the number living there. The toilet facilities are a nightmare and bathing is only possible by heating water in a big pot. Some of the men have been working to install a shower inside the building but it is one for the entire population. Several of the women said they hoped in the summer that perhaps a solar heated shower system could be possible where they could take showers outside.
Within this compound there is a need for everything. Nothing would be refused.
This group expressed their deep gratitude for all that we have sent to them through Igor and Olga.
Tuesday I will be taking a train to Vinnytsia, Ukraine. This is a tragic historical location where Stalin’s massacres and then Hitler’s death squads murdered tens of thousands. You need to read about this and be aware of evil’s reality. See this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinnytsia_massacre
Pray for our efforts as we continue this trip!
John L. Kachelman, Jr.