‘I wanted them to come to Ireland but they said no’ – parents of Ukrainian-Irish woman help refugees at makeshift rescue centre

A Ukrainian woman living in Ireland has asked for donations after her parents converted her rehabilitation center into a makeshift shelter in western Ukraine.

Ataliya O’Connor said her hometown of Chernivtsi is overflowing with refugees, many of whom are children and women, arriving from Kyiv and eastern cities during the Russian invasion.

Many children and women fleeing war-torn cities have traveled to the west of the country and are living in school halls and other buildings.

Ms O’Connor, who moved to Ireland 21 years ago when she was 18, said her parents converted their rehabilitation center for children with disabilities into a rescue centre.

They provide shelter and food for around 300 refugees, the youngest of whom is two months old.

Ms O’Connor, who lives in Dublin, said her parents turned down an offer to leave Ukraine and travel to Ireland after the Irish government waived visa requirements.

“They feel a responsibility to help their country and to help all Ukrainian people who have been left homeless and also to protect their country,” Ms O’Connor said.

“My parents Vasyl and Anastasia and their workmates cooked dinner, bought all the supplies and took good care of everyone who came into town.

“These people have traveled through the frontlines of the war and some of them are trapped between the battlefields of the Russian and Ukrainian armies.”

Around 10,000 adults and 2,000 children have fled to their hometown of Chernivtsi, and the number is growing every day.

Ms O’Connor has raised nearly €5,000 but is in dire need of more donations.

“It’s just incredible to see because the money is going straight into the hands of my family’s organization which is dealing directly with the crisis,” Ms O’Connor said.

“It’s heartbreaking and at this point they need money. They have supplies and goods.

“They need something now and they need money for diesel to drive a bus to deliver goods.

“Every night they have sirens and curfews and they have to sit in the dark and talk in the dark.

“My mother’s sister, who is in her 80s and lives in a sixth floor apartment, can’t rush down to the basement, so she sleeps in the bathtub.

“She puts pillows in the bathtub and sleeps there alone.

“Every time I call them, they’re busy, they’re doing something great because it keeps them going, they’re distracted because otherwise they’re going crazy.

“A big concern for everyone is the bombs.

“When the Russians launch rockets and the air warning goes off.

“You know the missile will be launched.

“But they don’t know where it will end.

“My parents don’t want to come to Ireland, they are helping too many people now.

“We had a big argument because when we heard they didn’t need a visa I wanted them to come over.

“But they said no. I was upset and heartbroken. I am very afraid for her.

“They just started cooking about 50 dinners and now they are cooking for a large number of people, maybe 300 people, and they are preparing lunches and dinners, and they are also sending groceries to Kyiv because it was cut off.

“You deserve to be free.

“They deserve to live in a democracy, they fight so hard for their democracy.”

“The world must stand by them.”

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/i-wanted-them-to-come-to-ireland-but-they-said-no-parents-of-ukrainian-irish-woman-help-refugees-in-makeshift-rescue-centre-41409349.html ‘I wanted them to come to Ireland but they said no’ – parents of Ukrainian-Irish woman help refugees at makeshift rescue centre

Fry Electronics Team

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