An elderly woman with gray hair wearing a green and pink cardigan smiles

After missile strike, ‘no light, no water, and no heat supply’

Tamara Yehorova, 89, is internally displaced after a missile struck her apartment building in Ukraine. Humanity & Inclusion's psychologists have helped Tamara overcome her distress. This is her story.

Hello, my name is Tamara Novohatskaya. I'm 89 years old. I live at the Ocean of Kindness (HI partner center). I arrived here five days ago. I lived in a small town in the Donetsk region near Bakhmut, which is one of the most impacted areas at the moment. We were evacuated by volunteers.

'A missile hit a neighbor's kitchen'

Half of my house is destroyed—it was hit by a missile. I lived in a residential building. Most of the residents left, but eight people remained in our lobby. We woke up early in the morning. I asked my son to go buy some bread.

We were getting ready for breakfast, and then a missile hit a neighbor’s kitchen. Glass blasted out, there was fog and smoke, and we couldn't see anything. Then the smoke dispersed, and our neighbors came in to help us. They removed the glass and the frames. I started to cry. We covered the windows with cellophane.

It all happened in January. We decided to stay and we lived like that for a while. But there was no light, no water, and no heat supply. It was totally unbearable. There was constant shelling. People died right in our yard, our neighbors. I was freezing. I constantly drank hot tea but it didn't help anymore. We constructed a furnace in our yard and I wore gloves to sleep at night, but my hands were icy cold anyway.

Surviving a second war

Then my niece found some volunteers and they proposed that we leave. They came several days after that. We were evacuated through Kramatorsk, then they got us on a train and we arrived in Dnipro. That's how we got here, to the Ocean of Kindness.

Of course, I still feel strong anxiety. Sometimes my body is just shaking. I cry a lot. I've lost everything I had. I can't forget everything that happened to us. I can't sleep and I cry at night.

I already survived one war during my childhood. I lived through the Second World War. I thought something like this would never happen again. And now I'm distressed all over again. I don't know how to carry on. I hope my sons will take me to live with them.

I'm deeply grateful to the people who gave us temporary shelter here. It's very warm and cozy. Finally, I am not cold. The food is very good and we are treated very well.

Humanity & Inclusion's psychologists come to visit us. I'm very grateful for the psychological first aid that they've provided. I'm grieving deeply now, I've lost my home and my belongings. I've witnessed a terrible war where people died near me. It's hard for me to forget that. Thanks to the psychologists I have had someone to share this pain with, to cry with. I'm grateful to them for hearing me out and for their compassion. At times like this you really need some simple humane support.