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Our volunteer’s story

Nowadays mainly the eastern part of Ukraine suffers from lack of drinking water. However, at the beginning of the war, this problem became painful in all the regions where the war was fought. The Russians purposefully shelled the infrastructure in order to leave civilians without basic supplies – and, first of all, without drinking water.

The story of Ukrainian Future volunteer

Dmytro Silenka, who experienced the war in Chernihiv and experienced water shortages.

We stocked water during the first days of the war. There was a pious idea that water would be a problem. So we filled a bathtub, a few bowls. We divided the water into drinking and technical water. For the first 10-12 days everything was in a relatively stable condition. Then, at the beginning of June, it was already clear that the Russian Blitzkrieg had failed. However, it did not mean that the war would end. The Russians gave in to poverty tactics and began to destroy the infrastructure.

When the electricity supply disappeared due to shelling, we realized that civilization without light was impossible. Then the mobile network, the Internet, and drinking water disappeared. The pumps didn’t pump water or pump out what went into the sewer system. It was the first time I saw people pouring water out of the batteries. There was no more snow, no more rain.

The first days without central water supply were not so problematic. There was hope that everything would be restored quickly. But the situation only got worse. By chance I managed to get in touch with my comrade Yaroslav.

It turned out that on the same day he and his father started delivering drinking water to people, which they took in the center of the city from the canteen.

When I first came to fill the water, which was near my school, we were guarded by a soldier from the Defense Ministry. Everything was quite calm until the water ran out. Then people started fighting and hustling to get a few drops of water. 

I thought that such a tragic picture was possible only in movies.

Every time we brought water to the people, I realized that we were prolonging their lives. They had laughs on their faces. At first there was a shortage of water, and we tried to supply it to the overflow population – those who could not go to the center of the city to fetch water themselves. The summer people I saw at that time did not seem to be worried. They were calm. But they had already survived the hard times. I wondered if we would behave the same way in tens of years. 

Repeat the phrase “Only if there was no war”.

We had only one barrel and a cubic meter of water. All in all, it’s very little. But sometimes I was glad that there was not so much water and that we could quickly fill it up and leave the place. The Russians realized that there were sources of water in the city and that it was being delivered by volunteers, so they began shelling the water filling points very quickly. Several times we were actually in the center of such bombardments and we had to drive people away and run. We were not afraid for ourselves, but the rush of people who could be injured kept us calm.

When the city started to de-blockade, we were able to get to the micro-districts where people had been without water for days. We were very welcome there, even though we were overcrowded. They were afraid to come out of the basements. Then one day everything changed. There were fewer people in the water supply lines, and centralized water supply was available in different districts of the city. We realized that our emergency work was over and we could calmly leave.

However, even now, two years after the blockade, the situation with water in Chernihiv is difficult. This is mostly due to the shelling of energy infrastructure. I constantly hear about the situation in Mykolayiv and the eastern regions from our volunteers from Mykolayiv – Tetyana Eltsova, an informatics teacher, and her son Kostyantyn.

Back then, in the besieged city, I realized that we simply do not value some basic things. But when they are taken away, it will be a big blow. People were ready to exchange the new PlayStation 5 for drinking water and the ability to recharge their phones.

It was scary and painful. My motivation for this project is very simple. I saw the horrors with my own eyes and I don’t want them to happen again. Not anywhere, not ever.

A wise man once said, “Thousands of people have lived without love, but none without water.”

I believe that my work in Ukrainian Future and my support can give people both love and water. Thank you.


IBAN DE12 2005 0550 1502 3212 66


BLZ 20050550