Christian-Zsolt Varga

freier Journalist mit Fokus Ukraine, Ungarn, Osteuropa

2 Abos und 2 Abonnenten

DELFI in Kherson | A devastating sight with only the roar of motor boats in the middle

English translation: 

Galyna, a 70-year-old evacuee from Kherson, stands resolutely at the new and tragically formed “landing dock" where the water of the Dnipro river pours onto a Kherson street far from the usual shore. In her hands she holds a trembling little dog called "Zolushka" (Cinderella) while she talks to each arriving boatman. Galyna and her small dog were rescued by selfless volunteers on Wednesday. But the rescue was done in a hurry, so not all her animals could be saved. With a sad face she adds: "Five dogs, seven cats, one of them pregnant, died".

Still, Galyna has not completely given up hope. A volunteer shows her photos of rescued animals on his mobile phone. She shakes her head at each picture. When someone tells her how relieving it is that her relatives survived, she firmly counters, "But the animals have souls, too."

Every now and then Galyna asks the volunteer boatman to take a look at her house. Although she can hardly bear the thought of seeing her house again, she hopes someone else can go there and look. Finally, the driver persuades her to come along and see the situation for herself. We board the swaying boat and accompany Galyna on a ten-minute ride through the once busy crossroads of Kherson, which is now flooded with water.

The water is so high that sometimes we can only make out the tops of street signs and the roofs of houses. A devastating scenery, interrupted only by the occasional hum of motorboats and the sound of water making its way. Birds chirping. The power cables of the road and the hanging trees force us to keep our heads down.

Amidst this scenery, the boat driver recounts the harrowing events of the evacuation the day before. While he was steering the boat, one of the central evacuation points was being shot at several times by Russian troops. The shells hit dangerously close to him, he reports.

After finding Galyna's house, the boat slowly and cautiously passes it so she can take a closer look. As she does so, she repeatedly calls out the names of one of her beloved animals: "Tzatza! Tzatzoshka! Tzatzulya!" The boat driver suggests that they may have rescued the animals yesterday. But it soon becomes clear that there is no sign of cats or dogs and the house, which is almost completely under water, is barely accessible. The volunteer boatman inquires, "Is that all?" Galyna simply nods. The return journey begins. The elderly lady stares at her sunken house for a long time and shakes her head in disbelief.

Katya, a 30-year-old volunteer and founder of the Alice in Wonderland Foundation, which usually rescues homeless animals in the Kyiv region, describes the challenges of trying to save frightened animals. She says: "It's a difficult task as the animals often run around uncontrollably in fear, making it harder and harder for us to reach them." In response to the Khakova Dam explosion on Tuesday, Katya, along with a group of dedicated volunteers from Kyiv, immediately rushed over to rescue animals. Later tonight, she plans to take 10 dogs and 20 cats back to a shelter in Kyiv.

Meanwhile, Galyna and Zolushka find refuge on a nearby bench near the “dock”. Next to them are several packages of dog food. Galyna explains, "Someone just came by and gave it to me." After losing her house, she found temporary shelter with friends in Kherson. Now she does not know what the future holds for her.

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