On Friday, August 11, aid workers from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency in Ukraine narrowly avoided ammunition from a Russian drone attack near an aid warehouse in Beryslav, Kherson region. According to a news story on ADRA’s website, the staff and volunteers heard the drone and ran for cover seconds before the strike and avoided serious injury. The vehicles transporting food aid to the village of Novoberislav sustained damage, though the parcels themselves were able to be returned to the warehouse for later delivery.
Describing the incident that occurred around 7:50 a.m., an ADRA volunteer named Marina recounted the harrowing incident.
As we were loading the last box and getting ready to leave, we heard the sound of a drone. We looked up and saw it hovering directly above us. The boys shouted, “take cover,” and we all ran for cover. A second later the drone started dropping ammunition. It dropped three rounds in one minute—one directly on the bonnet of a car, the second between the second car and a GAZelle truck, and the third in front of the GAZelle itself. Luckily, we were in the bunker by then, so everyone was alive and well, but I got a slight concussion from those explosions and still have a headache.
Last Monday, August 14, Denise Brown, a Canadian Senior United Nations official and the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine, released a statement condemning “Russia’s indiscriminate attacks” in Ukraine, citing civilian casualties and the impeding of humanitarian work—including that of “our colleagues from the NGO ADRA.”
During the war that began in February 2022, ADRA Ukraine has provided support to millions of affected individuals. Utilizing centralized assistance and rehabilitation centers, they have supplied food, water, hygienic products, and financial aid to those affected by the conflict. Given high levels of displacement, ADRA has directed resources to evacuation services, shelters, and home restoration projects. They have also coordinated with international partners to provide medical facilities with equipment and have offered legal, informational, and psychological support at IDP protection centers.
Two days before the drone attack in Beryslav, a missile strike in Zaporizhzhia resulted in human casualties and damage to residential blocks. ADRA responded by registering residents for cash assistance available through partner agencies and helping to distribute UN World Food Programme food kits to 110 households.
Though ADRA workers escaped with only minor injuries in this incident, the Russian invasion continues to inflict significant loss of civilian lives in Ukraine. As Brown stated, “People in the south of the country, including the Kherson and Odesa regions, have endured a particularly harsh weekend, as strikes left many civilians, including children, killed and injured.” The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner reports that, as of August 13, civilian casualties in Ukraine total 9,444 killed and 16,940 injured. “Civilians and civilian infrastructure must be respected,” Brown insisted. “They should never be a target.”
Photos credit: ADRA Ukraine
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