Mariupol: Tough Choices

The day the war began, our lives were shattered. ​

My sister and her family, including her two grandchildren, moved into our house. We thought it was safer in our area. But there was no safe place in Mariupol. ​

We managed to survive the nightmare that followed the outbreak of the war for only three weeks. We were without electricity, gas, water, and telephone. I risked my life every day to fetch water, cook food and collect firewood. ​

In order to fit our animals into the evacuation truck, we left all our belongings except our passports. Four days later, on 25th of March, my friend sent me a photo of our bombed-out house.


Caption: Queue for water. Photo: Viacheslav Tverdokhlib

I chose to stay to take care of the rest of the family, but by March 21st we had to escape. Each of us had animals, so all in all we brought six dogs, eight cats and two guinea pigs with us. We quickly decided that we would either take all our animals with us, or none of us would leave. ​

My dog got sick and almost died of stress. He was afraid of explosions and did not leave the house. Didn’t even go outside to pee. Eventually he had to pee in a nappy. Because of this, he developed kidney problems. When we got to Germany, they took him to the vet.