“It’s my instrument, I had to rescue it first”
The war took away everything from Serhii. Besides jazz.
Serhii’s emergency bag contains just three things – the clothes he was wearing when he left, his documents and his saxophone. Before the war, the 18-year-old attended the Arts College in Mariupol and loved to play jazz. But since the violence escalated in February, he has barely played at all.
The first thing that Serhii did in Mariupol, when he was woken up by the sound of explosions at five in the morning on 24 February was go to college to pick up his saxophone.
“It’s my instrument, I had to rescue it first of all,” he says.
Then, when the building where they lived – all ten-storeys – was burned to the ground, Serhii and his parents moved in with his 67-year-old grandmother. There was little electricity, water or gas. Every day, they went out to gather wood, which became increasingly hard to find. Sometimes they even had to break down their neighbours’ wooden fences, in order to cook food and try to keep warm.
"What is the scariest thing when you have nothing left?"
In March, after a humanitarian corridor was set up, the family decided to flee. But the road to Hust was difficult. At one point, they ran out of fuel and the convoy was under fire.
Serhii and his family eventually reached safety in Hust. Unfortunately, the young musician has yet to hear anything from some of his college teachers.
As the war in Ukraine continues, fighting has intensified in the east and over 7.13 million people are internally displaced. UNICEF has continued to preposition lifesaving supplies as close to the frontline as possible.
Almost 2,000 people with special needs, mostly women, benefitted from hygiene kits, diapers, sanitary sheets, bottled water and wet wipes that were provided by UNICEF and partners in Donetsk and Mariupol.