Ukrainian train takes patients from attacked areas to safe place

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A team from the NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF) treats patients in a medical relief wagon en route to the western Ukrainian city of Liviv, April 10, 2022 afp_tickers

This content was posted on 11. April 2022 – 12:38

(AFP)

On a train that was speeding away from the fighting zone in Ukraine, electrician Evhen Perepelytsia, who was on the verge of death, was grateful to be able to see his children again soon.

“We hope the worst is over, that everything is better after what we’ve been through,” said this 30-year-old man, lying on a bed in the wagon.

Among the injured and the elderly, Evhen is one of 48 people evacuated from eastern Ukraine over the weekend who arrived in Lviv on Sunday night.

Although it was the first transfer from this region since a Russian attack left 57 dead last Friday (8) at the Kramatorsk railway station, it was the fourth removal organized by the NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF) since the beginning of this conflict in country on February 24th.

Inside one of the coaches turned into a hospital room, Perepelytsia recalled how she lost her leg in the bombing of her town, Hirske, in eastern Lugansk. She was away from home and had just talked about leaving this town and going to the west of the country to find her children, she said.

“I took one step forward, and when I took the second, I fell (…). It turned out that (the bomb) fell close to me, hit a monument, and a fragment tore off my leg,” he said.

Sitting on the edge of his bed, his wife, Yuliya, 29, said she was afraid of losing him.

“He lost consciousness twice in the intensive care unit,” he recalled. “We couldn’t save his leg, but we saved his life,” he celebrated.

The couple’s three children are waiting for them in Lviv with their grandmother.

“We’re not going back,” Yuliya stressed.

– “Many still need help” –

According to the UN, at least 1,793 civilians have been killed, and 2,439 have been wounded since the invasion began. The numbers can, however, be much higher. In addition, more than 10 million people had to leave their homes.

In recent days, Ukrainian authorities have urged inhabitants of the east of the country to flee to the west of the territory, in the face of fears of a strong Russian attack, after the failure of the offensive on the outskirts of Kiev.

When the train arrived in Lviv, those who could not walk were taken to ambulances on a stretcher. Those who could walk, or were in a wheelchair, were helped to get to the buses. In one such vehicle, Praskovya, 77, sat patiently with a white blindfold over one eye.

“My eye hurts,” commented this lady, from Novodruzhesk, Lugansk, who declined to reveal her surname.

“But the doctors on the train were excellent,” he said, praising the 13 rescuers on board, most of whom were Ukrainians.

Ahead of her, Ivan said he had to wait two days in a basement after being shot in the street. His neighbors in Popasna, also in Lugansk, said they had blindfolded him as best they could until the doctors arrived.

On the platform, MSF hospital train coordinator Jean-Clement Cabrol catches his breath. The train managed to save 48 people, but many more still need help, acknowledged this doctor, wearing a black beret.

Weeks ago, a first convoy traveled to Zaporizhzhia to rescue three families injured as they tried to flee the besieged port of Mariupol. In the aftermath, hundreds of patients – mostly elderly – were evacuated from Kramatorsk before the deadly Russian attack on the local train station.

On Sunday night, by the tracks, Cabrol commented that another would leave soon to continue the withdrawals as long as possible.

“Let’s go back tonight,” he informed her.

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