Living In A Donetsk Bomb Shelter
9 January, 2015

In the mines in the Petrovs'kyi district around Donetsk city the area is bordering the territory between the Ukrainian military and the Donetsk People's Republic. They have had to withstand 5 months of constant shelling and many people have moved down to the bomb shelters of the mines. For some, their homes have no roofs, for others there are broken windows and people cannot live in the cold.

The rest are afraid to sleep at home, so they run back and forth to wash and cook. They spend most of their time underground. It is in this region, that the volunteer group "Responsible Citizens of Donbas" care for three bomb shelters. In them live the elderly and children who do not go to school.

They first has up to 70 people in it. Those who primarily live in the "Trudovska" mine are those who work there - although their salaries have not been paid since August. Most workers only receive 20% of their wages - about 200 HRV. It's difficult to find a job outside of the area since transportation only works at night. Most people here have lost jobs - some used to work in the market that was hit by bombing, others worked in a company that has closed down.

The third bomb shelter is in the basement of the local cultural building where they once held band practices. One little old lady, Valia, has a fever at night but still manages to visit her sick son at home everyday. When she was returning to the shelter, the bombings intensified. Loud thuds could be heard outside and did not stop.

Unfortunately, the camcorder did not record the sounds but it did shake the ground. Olia, another shelter dweller, says that the fear is not without reason: one blast hit the fence but there weren't any significant injuries. Both women have not received pensions since August - they have empty wallets. Both are grateful to those who can help but are ashamed of asking. Olia finally says: "We have such beauty in the summer and autumn here. We hope that peace will return." A thick layer of snow covers the empty shells and craters but you can hear the explosions nearby. You cannot be confused by what it is anymore.