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Wiping away a tear, 31-year-old Anna told yesterday how she fled the bombs leaving behind her mother, brother and cat.
She is now safe in Romania and being helped by CARE International, a charity that is being funded by Daily Mail readers.
Beautician Anna said her brother Vitalik stayed behind in the port city of Odesa to defend it – and their mother refused to leave him.
Anna fled the port city of Odesa, leaving behind her mother, brother and cat, and is now safe in Romania
A woman reacts while speaking near a block of flats, which was destroyed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
‘My brother stayed to fight, and my mother wanted to stay to look after him,’ she said.
‘The outskirts of Odesa were being bombed a lot, I heard a lot of bombings. The house was shaking, and we ran to the basement when the alarms sounded. It was happening about twice a day.
‘People there are very afraid but still they stay. The women don’t want to leave their husbands and their fathers behind.
‘Lots of my friends are doctors and they have to swear the Hippocratic Oath when they take the job. For them these are not just words but real, and they will step up. It is so hard to leave home. I don’t know how I will cope.
‘I have been speaking to my mum all morning since I left. She is scared and worried and thinking about me. She wanted me to leave to safety, but not go so far away.’
Evacuees fleeing the war in Ukraine sit in the body of a cargo vehicle while waiting in a line to leave the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine
Local residents who seek refuge in the basement of a building during the war in Ukraine
Anna escaped by bus and crossed the Danube River by ferry to Romania. Crying, she said: ‘I love Odesa a lot. I left my mum and my six-year-old cat Mars back there, he is like my baby. I don’t know how I will live without them.’
Through its local partners CARE is giving supplies and support to Anna and thousands of other refugees streaming across the Ukrainian border. The Mail Force charity has given £500,000 to CARE.
Anna said: ‘I want to say thank you so much for the donations. I hope that everything, this war, will stop soon. I am so afraid to lose my family members, I can’t even bear to think about it.’
Meanwhile, a convoy of 11 Red Cross trucks containing 200 tons of aid has made its way into Ukraine. The Red Cross is also receiving £500,000 from Mail Force.
The trucks are transporting trauma medical kits for 1,900 war-wounded people, and supplies for those in shelters including more than four million blankets and 1.4million kitchen sets.
Grimly, the lorries also brought in 5,120 body bags.
Florian Seriex, of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said: ‘This humanitarian assistance contains war-wounded kits, which means surgical trauma kits, that will be distributed to hospitals. They contain blankets, mattresses, all the goods that are necessary for the people who have left their homes, who are currently stuck in shelters, and are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.’
Mail Force has so far raised £7.5million, kickstarted by a £500,000 donation from the Mail’s parent company DMGT at the request of Lord and Lady Rothermere.
A steady stream of cheques and online donations has followed from our generous readers. Many have sent heartfelt messages of support, including Roslyn Bevan, of Pershore, Worcestershire, who gave £100 and wrote: ‘This is such a worthy cause.’
The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and MailOnline UKRAINE REFUGEE APPEAL
Readers of Mail Newspapers and MailOnline have always shown immense generosity at times of crisis.
Calling upon that human spirit, we are supporting a huge push to raise money for refugees from Ukraine.
For, surely, no one can fail to be moved by the heartbreaking images and stories of families – mostly women, children, the infirm and elderly – fleeing from Russia’s invading armed forces.
As this tally of misery increases over the coming days and months, these innocent victims of a tyrant will require accommodation, schools and medical support.
Donations to the Mail Force Ukraine Appeal will be used to help charities and aid organisations providing such essential services.
In the name of charity and compassion, we urge all our readers to give swiftly and generously.
TO MAKE A DONATION ONLINE
Donate at www.mailforcecharity.co.uk/donate
To add Gift Aid to a donation – even one already made – complete an online form found here: mymail.co.uk/ukraine
Via bank transfer, please use these details:
Account name: Mail Force Charity
Account number: 48867365
Sort code: 60-00-01
TO MAKE A DONATION VIA CHEQUE
Make your cheque payable to ‘Mail Force’ and post it to: Mail Newspapers Ukraine Appeal, GFM, 42 Phoenix Court, Hawkins Road, Colchester, Essex CO2 8JY
TO MAKE A DONATION FROM THE US
US readers can donate to the appeal via a bank transfer to Associated Newspapers or by sending checks to dailymail.com HQ at 51 Astor Place (9th floor), New York, NY 10003