Ukraine / Forgotten displaced

Refugees at the EU border

 

The number of Ukranian refugees is close to 2 million. Some of them have moved towards Russia, others went to the western parts of the country. They have entered into refugee camps, moved in with their families, or sometimes they have just run as far away as possible, leaving everything behind. Their stories are different but they all have a common denominator. The precariousness of being in exile and, for a number of them, the trauma of knowing that their relatives are still in the war zone. Often, men have chosen to stay so that they don't have to give up their jobs. They wish to maintain a decent living standard for their families, regardless of the risk. Many of the elderly have also been obliged to stay. Some of the refugees have been persecuted by the separatists before they had left, others had to leave the parts of the country that have become too dangerous to live in. The families tell us about their fear, about precariousness, about having to live in an unknown region. An iniquitous double punishment: they have fled the separatists, but are often seen as intruders, potentially dangerous ones. We are 1500 km away from Donetsk, in the very West of the country, in a hotel that has been forced to accept the refugees by national authorities. A hotel that requires that they pay an amount of 80 euros rent per month, in a country where the minimum wages are the equivalent of 38 euros. The first 6 months have been paid by the state, but most of the families have been living there for more than a year… A charity has managed to obtain one of the hotel rooms and transformed it into a kitchen with laundry facilities. Around thirty families living on the 10th and the 11th floor survive here. Two children have been born in these conditions. Two women have fled the war pregnant, one of them leaving her husband in the war zone. These children might never know or see their fathers. Anatolik, Serioja, Sasha, Misha… are  being witnessed growing up through Skype. For them, the community life that characterizes their stay at the hotel almost feels like a “summer camp” in a Soviet context. At least it is something positive. Nevertheless, it is hard to carry on, when a family of six have to live in a 15 m2 room. Most of them have chosen to come to this region since it is more developed than other parts, and is far away from the conflict. Out of all the families that we have met, only a few think about moving to Europe, but they all know that it is impossible to cross the EU border. And returning back is not an option either. In this hotel, they remain trapped in a world that has shrunk suddenly.  

 

Text: Sara Cincurova

 

Ukraine : Réfugiés oubliés aux portes de l'Europe.

 

Le nombre de déplacés en Ukraine approche les 2 millions. Ils sont partis soit vers la Russie, soit dans le reste du pays. Ils ont rejoint des campements, se sont installés chez des proches ou sont juste partis loin de tout. Les histoires divergent mais ont un socle commun. La précarité de l'exode et pour beaucoup la difficulté de savoir des proches toujours sur place. Bien souvent les hommes ont fait le choix de rester travailler et tenter de subvenir aux besoins de la famille malgré les risques encourus. Beaucoup de personnes âgées aussi n'ont pu se résoudre à quitter leur maison de famille. Skype est omniprésent. Certains ont été persécutés par les séparatistes avant de partir, d'autres ont quitté les régions dangereuses dès le début de la guerre. Les familles nous parlent de la peur, de la précarité de se retrouver dans une région inconnue. Double peine : ils ont fuit les séparatistes et sont ici souvent perçus comme des intrus... potentiellement dangereux. Nous sommes à 1500 kilomètres de Donesk, le plus à l'ouest possible, à quelques pas de la frontière slovaque côté ukrainien. Nous sommes dans un hôtel auquel le gouvernement a imposé ces réfugiés. Un hôtel qui les fait tout de même payer l'équivalent de 80 euros dans un pays où le salaire minimum est de 38 euros. Les six premiers mois sont pris en charge par l'état mais la plupart des familles y vivent depuis un an. Une association a réussi dernièrement à négocier une pièce à leur étage pour y installer cuisine et machines à laver. La trentaine de familles répartie aux niveaux 10 et 11 survit. Une transition qui dure. Deux enfants sont déjà nés dans ces conditions. Deux femmes parties enceintes sur les routes, pour l'une d'elle en laissant le mari sur place. Des enfants qui risquent de ne pas connaître ou de ne plus voir leur père : Anatolik, Serioja, Sacha, Micha... continuent de grandir à travers skype. Pour eux, une vie communautaire s'est installée dans l'hôtel, ça pourrait presque ressembler à un « summer camp » dans un cadre soviétique. C'est déjà ça. Mais voilà, c'est dur de joindre les deux bouts, même à six dans une chambre de 15 mètres carrés. La plupart sont venus dans cette région car elle est plus développée que le reste du pays et se trouve le plus loin possible des affrontements. De ceux que nous avons rencontrés, seuls quelques-uns pensent à l'Europe mais tous savent que de toute façon c'est impossible de passer les frontières. Repartir en arrière ne ressemble pas non plus à une perspective viable. Dans cet hôtel ils semblent coincés dans un monde qui subitement se serait rétréci.

 

Texte: Sara Cincurova

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Ukraine / Forgotten displaced

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Oujhorod, in a hotel that has been forced to accept the refugees from war zone. The rent costs them 80 euros per month, in a country where the minimum wage is 38 euros. The number of displaced ukrainiens is more than 2 million.
Oujhorod, in a hotel that has been forced to accept the refugees from war zone. The rent costs them 80 euros per month, in a country where the minimum wage is 38 euros. The number of displaced ukrainiens is more than 2 million.
Oujhorod, in a hotel that has been forced to accept the refugees from war zone. The rent costs them 80 euros per month, in a country where the minimum wage is 38 euros. The number of displaced ukrainiens is more than 2 million.
Natasha et Sergueï with their children Daniel (11 years) and Nikita (18 months)  Gunfire in the main square of Druvkoshka (their home town in the Donetsk region) and fear in the eyes of their children [...] - Contact the agency for complete testimonies.
Natasha et Sergueï with their children Daniel (11 years) and Nikita (18 months)  Gunfire in the main square of Druvkoshka (their home town in the Donetsk region) and fear in the eyes of their children [...] - Contact the agency for complete testimonies.
One room was change in a common kitchen and laundry. They are all at the same level but this place is also a way for the people to meet.
Tamara and Anna. Anna is Svetlana's mother and Sacha and Micha's grandmother (their father re­mained in Donetsk: see previous photo) . Tamara never misses out on an opportunity to come to the kitchen [...] Contact the agency for complete testimony
One room was change in a common kitchen and laundry. As they are many children and many clothes to wash there is a planing for the washing machines.
Svetlana and  her mother Anna. Her children Sacha (11 years) and Micha (7 years)  They left Donetsk at the beginning of the war when they saw the impact it had on children . They arrived at the hotel [...] - Contact the agency for complete testimonies -
Svetlana and  her mother Anna. Her children Sacha (11 years) and Micha (7 years)  They left Donetsk at the beginning of the war when they saw the impact it had on children . They arrived at the hotel [...] - Contact the agency for complete testimonies -
Svetlana and  her mother Anna. Her children Sacha (11 years) and Micha (7 years)  They left Donetsk at the beginning of the war when they saw the impact it had on children . They arrived at the hotel [...] - Contact the agency for complete testimonies -
Sacha (son of Svetlana) is playing with a friend. You can read his story in the families captions.
Oujhorod, in a hotel that has been forced to accept the refugees from war zone. The rent costs them 80 euros per month, in a country where the minimum wage is 38 euros. The number of displaced ukrainiens is more than 2 million.
Asia (23 years) the mother of the children and Sergueï their godfather (37) Roma (5 years), Slavik (3) et Kristina (2)  Ania has no parents. She, Sergueï and her three children were forced to leave Luhansk. They first escaped to Murmansk in Russia [...]
Asia (23 years) the mother of the children and Sergueï their godfather (37) Roma (5 years), Slavik (3) et Kristina (2)  Ania has no parents. She, Sergueï and her three children were forced to leave Luhansk. They first escaped to Murmansk in Russia [...]
Asia (23 years) the mother of the children and Sergueï their godfather (37) Roma (5 years), Slavik (3) et Kristina (2)  Ania has no parents. She, Sergueï and her three children were forced to leave Luhansk. They first escaped to Murmansk in Russia [...]
Olia and Oleg, Valeria (9 years), Valentina (4 years), Timur (3 years), Miroslava (10 months)  Two days by train to come from Alchevsk, Luhansk region. "We just managed to get three suitcases. One for each child [...]  Contact the agency for entire text
Lena and Micha. Their daughters Maria (14 years), Elizaveta (7 years) and Zlatka (4 years).  "Smile! You look lovely when you smile". Micha skypes with his wife and his three daughters [...] - Contact the agency for complete testimonies of families -
Svetlana (25 years) her sons Serioja (9 years) and Anatolik (11 months).  "To protect the children"': Svetlana left eastern Ukraine with her first son, while she was pregnant [...] - Contact the agency for complete testimonies of families -
Svetlana (25 years) her sons Serioja (9 years) and Anatolik (11 months).  "To protect the children"': Svetlana left eastern Ukraine with her first son, while she was pregnant [...] - Contact the agency for complete testimonies of families -
Viktoria and Artur, their children Vlad (13 years) et Dana (11 years).   They have just arrived in the hotel but it's been a year since they left Gorlovka in the Donetsk region . The children speak English perfectly and show us [...]
Viktoria and Artur, their children Vlad (13 years) et Dana (11 years).   They have just arrived in the hotel but it's been a year since they left Gorlovka in the Donetsk region . The children speak English perfectly and show us [...]
Irma et Aleks their dog Bertha and their cat Asia.  I said, "'the TV and the pets, otherwise we are not leaving."' Inna and Aleks drove by car to Oujhorod early July 2014. Before that [...] - Contact the agency for complete testimonies of families -
Irma et Aleks their dog Bertha and their cat Asia.  I said, "'the TV and the pets, otherwise we are not leaving."' Inna and Aleks drove by car to Oujhorod early July 2014. Before that [...] - Contact the agency for complete testimonies of families -
Oujhorod, in a hotel that has been forced to accept the refugees from war zone. The rent costs them 80 euros per month, in a country where the minimum wage is 38 euros. The number of displaced ukrainiens is more than 2 million. 
Natalia and her daughter Mariam (2 years)  Natalia was on vacation with her daughter in Oujhorod [...] - Contact the agency for complete testimonies of families -
Olia and Oleg, Valeria (9 years), Valentina (4 years), Timur (3 years), Miroslava (10 months).  Two days by train to come from Alchevsk, Luhansk region. "We just managed to get three suitcases. One for each child [...]  Contact the agency for entire text
Olia and Oleg, Valeria (9 years), Valentina (4 years), Timur (3 years), Miroslava (10 months).  Two days by train to come from Alchevsk, Luhansk region. "We just managed to get three suitcases. One for each child [...]  Contact the agency for entire text
Olia and Oleg, Valeria (9 years), Valentina (4 years), Timur (3 years), Miroslava (10 months).  Two days by train to come from Alchevsk, Luhansk region. "We just managed to get three suitcases. One for each child [...]  Contact the agency for entire text
Olia and Oleg, Valeria (9 years), Valentina (4 years), Timur (3 years), Miroslava (10 months).  Two days by train to come from Alchevsk, Luhansk region. "We just managed to get three suitcases. One for each child [...]  Contact the agency for entire text
Svetlana and  her mother Anna. Her children Sacha (11 years) and Micha (7 years).  They left Donetsk at the beginning of the war when they saw the impact it had on children . They arrived at the hotel [...] - Contact the agency for complete testimonies -
Svetlana and  her mother Anna. Her children Sacha (11 years) and Micha (7 years).  They left Donetsk at the beginning of the war when they saw the impact it had on children . They arrived at the hotel [...] - Contact the agency for complete testimonies -
Svetlana and  her mother Anna. Her children Sacha (11 years) and Micha (7 years).  They left Donetsk at the beginning of the war when they saw the impact it had on children . They arrived at the hotel [...] - Contact the agency for complete testimonies -
Oujhorod, in a hotel that has been forced to accept the refugees from war zone. The rent costs them 80 euros per month, in a country where the minimum wage is 38 euros. The number of displaced ukrainiens is more than 2 million. 
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