Mariupol survivors count a month under bomb inferno

Nadejda has just gotten out of a car in front of the reception center set up at the southern entrance to the city of Zaporizhia to manage the arrival of refugees from Mariupol, a Ukrainian city on the shores of the Sea of ​​Azov, martyred by the war since the Russian attack. In front of the medical staff, harangue. There is no anger in her voice, just a survival instinct that makes her speak louder than she wants to. Speaking out loud to try, in vain, to drive away a fear rooted in oneself. As if the terror hadn’t stopped when she left Mariupol and hadn’t ended the barrage of shells that rained down on her city for a month. A bloody bandage that needs to be changed covers part of her forehead.

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Staying with my husband, his daughter and his son-in-law at their house in the Primorsky district, near the port, still in the hands of the Ukrainians, he tried to get out on foot and by bicycle. “We had to surrender because of the bombing. We go down to the basement less and less. But on Friday, a shell hit the roof. It was there that I was injured in the skull and in the hand. »

Luckily, the car, which was not hit, allowed them to flee on Saturday, April 2, towards Mangoush. His forehead sporting a new bandage, his flow of words suddenly slowed. Nobody then sinks her infinitely sad eyes into those of her interlocutor: “I felt good in this country, in my life, in my work, in my house, and that’s where it all started. »

“The fear is palpable”

This Saturday, in this always full center, you can read the veil of horror experienced in Mariupol in the eyes of all those who have just come out of this hell of fire, without water, electricity, gas or telephone. Children, youth, adults, mothers, the elderly, hardened men, no one seems to escape. As if an implacable distance had been frozen in a look that looks but, at the same time, we feel clearly see other images of unnamed violence parading. We see the same reality every time. These inhabitants of Mariupol are no longer hostages of a destroyed city, but their minds will be marked forever by this borderline experience between life and death.

A Ukrainian commander rests after being wounded in battle against Russian forces, at a military hospital in Zaporizhia, Ukraine, on April 2, 2022.

“Nearly 2,000 people arrived by bus last night and this morning, and nearly 400 private cars are still stuck on the road at checkpoints 50 kilometers from here.”explains Vadislaw Moroko, who manages the flow of displaced people from Mariupol and its surroundings for the regional military administration. The convoys, which arrived in Zaporizhia on Saturday, had to pass twelve Russian roadblocks, adding to the annoying searches. But for once, Vadislaw didn’t send his bus to Berdyansk for nothing. The inhabitants of Mariupol had been able to leave and reach this city.

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