"Caritas" delivers food and water to the de-occupied settlements of Kherson province
A truck with food products provided by partners from the Archeiparchy of Hamburg and the German Caritas of the North also arrived in the Kherson province from Kolomyia.
The director of Caritas Kryvyi Rih, father Ivan Talailo, said after what he saw in the Kherson region:" I never thought that the village could be completely destroyed so that nothing remained of it. I was in Donetsk after 2014. I saw a lot of destruction, but here... there was a village – there is no village anymore, it is wiped off the face of the Earth, and it is really terrifying – the pure evil that war brings."
According to him, people from newly liberated villages and towns are the most vulnerable category of all those affected by the war. They absolutely do not want to evacuate because they perceive this land, their native home, as something without which they cannot live.
"Despite all the threat of incessant fighting, they have stayed because this is their land, their homeland. They are ready to rebuild, and, in my opinion, our task is to support them and help them prepare for winter," adds Fr. Ivan Talailo.
"When I come to the newly liberated territories, I understand that often people do not need material things so much, although of course they also need them, more local people need attention, they need to understand that they have not been forgotten. Therefore, first of all, we try to figuratively "hug and feed", and then we are ready to conduct a needs assessment and provide more comprehensive assistance. We are aware that now these people first of all need funds to prepare for winter," Fr Ivan concludes.
As soon as it became known that there was an opportunity to get to the de – occupied territories of the Kherson region, we immediately gathered and went there," says Fr Serhiy Trifyak, director of Caritas Kolomyia.
The stories of people in the occupation, stories about their experiences, can move to tears. These are women with children and old people whose destinies are very dramatic. "In one of the basements where people are hiding from shelling, I met an elderly woman holding icons on a shelf next to her – and this is such a sincere manifestation of faith and spirituality in such terrible war conditions," the priest notes.
Often local residents do not even have the opportunity to live in their own homes, they gather at their neighbors' who have basements that can serve as a shelter during shelling, and at the same time, according to the director of Caritas Kolomyia, their desire to stay "at home" can also be understood – this is their land, and they do not need another. They have no water, electricity or gas supply, the destruction is up to 90%, and most settlements are still under fire. Now about a thousand people still remain in the community.
Anna Shostak-Kuchmyak, chairman of the Vysokopolskaya Territorial Community, explains that the most important thing today is to prepare for winter. Those households with proper stove heating need to be provided with firewood, while others need to install stoves to provide heating to their homes.