Friday, January 16, 2015

In eastern Ukraine’s Miusynsk, pensioners struggle to survive winter | Al Jazeera America (2)

MIUSYNSK, Ukraine — Natalia Shevchenko, 57, doesn’t know if she and her husband are going to survive the winter. Her last pension check arrived in June, and since then, she and her husband have eaten through most of the pickled tomatoes and canned food on their shelves. “Now we understand that no one needs us,” she said.

Shevchenko lives in Miusynsk, a village in eastern Ukraine of fewer than 2,000 people that hugs the border between Luhansk and Donetsk, the two regions controlled by pro-Russian rebels fighting Ukrainian forces.

Elsewhere across the region, some help has trickled in. Russian Cossack commanders have set up a soup kitchen for the elderly and distributed a one-time payment of 1,000 hryvnia, about $63, to pensioners in other cities. Russian and international aid groups have delivered food, clothing and basic medical supplies to the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk. Ukrainian aid trucks made a delivery to other parts just before the New Year.

But it appears that no humanitarian help has reached Miusynsk. With no money and no food aid to speak of, many villagers here say they feel forgotten in the 10-month conflict that has left more than 4,700 dead.

International aid organizations warn that Miusynsk is an example of the growing risk for a humanitarian crisis this winter in the rebel-controlled areas as the conflict drags on and the region becomes more and more isolated.

Most of the village supported the pro-Russian movement that declared itself independent from a European-leaning Kiev after the massive Maidan demonstrations in 2013. They patiently waited out the intense fighting that brought the front line through their village, just as it had during WWII.

Complete story at - In eastern Ukraine’s Miusynsk, pensioners struggle to survive winter | Al Jazeera America


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