A girl and her pet hamster: Half the children of Ukraine flee war

Half of the children in Ukraine have been displaced by Russia's invasion. A little girl dressed in pink and with a long blonde hair, was found in a hospital near the border with Poland.

A girl and her pet hamster: Half the children of Ukraine flee war

Zlata Moiseinko had to overcome a chronic heart condition, daily bombardments, days spent in cold basements and nights in freezing cars in order to get there. Her father was so worried about her fragile 10 year old that he risked his life to bring her to her ninth-floor apartment, 60 miles (90 km) south of Kyiv to save Lola, her pet hamster.

Zlata has converted a schoolhouse into a field hospital for Israeli medical workers, where the animal is now sleeping in a small cage. If her family can arrange for the paperwork to allow her father to cross the border, the girl and her family will be able to meet up with friends in Germany.

The little girl, shyly, said that she wanted peace for Ukraine.

According to the United Nations Children's Agency, half of the country’s children (4.3 million out of an estimated total of 7.5 million) have fled their country, which includes approximately 1.8 million refugees.

Children are everywhere, crammed in suitcases at train stations, humanitarian tents, and evacuation convoys. This is the largest displacement of this kind since World War II.

Zlata’s mother Natalia, was so close to tears that she folded her hands in prayer. Thursday is the end of a month of war, and she cannot take anymore.

The mother replied, "I ask for help to our children and the elderly,"

She spoke of the escape from Bila Tserkva, which put her daughter's lives in danger beyond the ever-present threat to airstrikes.

The family fled as Russian planes crashed overhead, aiming for the military base. They hid in a basement in a village for one week. Because her heart condition required constant care, her family tried to keep her calm.

Her mother stated, "We gave her medication for her to calm down." It wasn't enough. Each loud sound was disturbing. Without family and friends to help them along the way west towards safety and Poland, they had no other options. They eventually tried to find shelter with Nadia, an acquaintance of Nadia's grandmother. But the sound of planes and sirens kept following them.

Zlata and her family spent the last drive to the border sleeping in their car, freezing in the cold. They were stopped at the border after confusion over documents and about the father of the girl. In case of fighting, Ukraine does not allow men aged 18-60 to leave the country.

The family was just a chance to hear about the Israeli field hospital in Mostyska, Ukraine. They are now able to regroup in relative safety, with no sirens.

Zlata sometimes plays the piano at school to fill in the silence. Her mother stated that she missed playing when her family was away. She proudly displayed her daughter's YouTube channel with performances. However, the most recent video showed their basement. The mother spoke in whispers as the camera panted to reveal a concrete wall and a light bulb.

She said that all they had was potatoes and a few blankets. "I hope that we won't stay here too long."

There is peace for now, while the family moves again. Zlata's drawing has been placed in the hallway. A doll and a stuffed panda have been placed on a nearby bed.

The transformation has taken place. The girl arrived at the field hospital with severe dehydration. Dr. Michael Segal (Israeli physician) said that she was severely dehydrated. He was born in Kyiv, and has been touched by the stories from his homeland.

Segal spoke of Ukraine, saying that it was "very close to my heart". People have lost everything in a "short moment".

Zlata's family "came to here crying, and not knowing what they should do," he said.

Doctors said that her first pet was a hamster.

The girl was reminded of this by her exhausted mother, who smiled.

She said, "That hamster is the star of the clinic." It had also been stressed."


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