Thursday, / September 21, 2023
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Dispatches from Ukraine: “We’re Facing a Humanitarian Crisis”

Chernigov, Ukraine

Our community is under siege and facing an unqualified humanitarian crisis. Artillery shells have been exploding sporadically across our city since Thursday. We’re just sixty miles from the Russian border, and Russian forces have surrounded the city. 

We’re sheltering thirty-five people in the basement of the Chabad House, including one lady whose apartment was obliterated by an artillery shell. Before this began we ordered a large stockpile of food, but much of it didn’t make it into the city in time. With all the stores being shuttered and unable to bring food into the city, we’re eating mostly oatmeal and trying to find ways to get more. I’m not sure how long our food will last — it depends on how many people we end up accommodating. 

My family and I are holed up in the concrete basement of our house. It’s illegal to go outside after 5 p.m., and it’s always dangerous. The children have been watching videos to pass the time, and thankfully so far the electricity is on. We are in good spirits, and are doing our best to keep the community’s spirits up.

The scene at the Jewish Community Center in Chernigov, where 40 people are sleeping tonight.

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