In the village Novotoshkivske in eastern Ukraine, it used to live 2-3000 people. The village is based on the coal mining business, so the village has no gas supply. Both electricity and heating is based on coal.
The village is situated approx. 2 kilometers from the Contact line and the people here suffered hard from the bombings. Now, even when some people have started to return, the village has no more than 1000 inhabitants. Most of them are elderly people who were not able to move away from the bombings.
You can still see several apartment buildings and houses without windows, due to the bombings. The local market building is completely damaged into a pile of rocks, due to a “clean hit”.
Without money or other means, citizens would have had to live in the ruined houses. NRC has been providing people with material so that they can rebuild their houses themselves. The result is that most houses are now repaired so that the citizens can meet the harsh winter at least with roofing and windows to keep the winter cold out.
NRC has provided the citizens with building materials, NFI kits including Basement kits; small boxes with the most urgent supplies to survive three days under the ground in a basement – in case of shelling. Besides a first aid kit, the Basement kits contain a lamp, candles and hygiene articles that will help the families during the shelling. Families with small children also get an extra kit with diapers baby hygiene articles, in addition to small games, pencils and drawing paper that hopefully will help the children forget the shelling and the fear while they “entertain” themselves to get the time go by.
Everybody living this close to the Contact line has experienced war. Most of the people have lived in dark basements for weeks and months to avoid being killed by the bombs, without any other supplies than they have been able to carry from their homes. And even now in the temporary cease fire, nobody knows when they have to run back to the basements.
Photo: Ingrid Prestetun/NRC