When the shelling started in Bucha, Ukraine, on Feb. 27, 2022, 7-year-old Davyd and his family rushed to shelter in their basement.
They listened in terror as a neighbor's house was hit by a missile strike. "We saw the shadow above us and we heard it," said Davyd's mother, Yevgeniya, 37. "We got stuck in our home. I didn't even believe we would survive."
A borrowed gallon of gasoline and a rush to safety
By early March, Davyd's parents decided they had to evacuate. The family borrowed a gallon of gasoline from a neighbor and drove to Kyiv, about 35 miles away. They found temporary shelter in a church, but they had to hide in the basement there, too, because of the constant threat of bombardment. "When a plane was flying low, I felt something bad in my stomach," said Davyd. "I threw up."
Eventually, Davyd and his family made their way to Poland, and then on to London, where they are staying now with relatives. "My cousin has been to visit us in Bucha before, but this was my first time at his house," David explained.
Uprooted by war, a 7-year-old starts over in an unfamiliar country:
Davyd is adjusting to life in a new country, far from old friends and familiar routines. First airplane trip. First London bus ride. First day at a new school in a foreign language. "The first day of [English] school was really stressful for him," said Yevgeniya. "He cried a lot. But the next day, he ran to school."
Ukraine's children aren't responsible for the war, but they are paying the highest price
As of June 21, 2022, 5.3 million Ukrainian refugees remain in Europe, more than 90 percent of them women and children. Inside Ukraine, more than 7.1 million people have been internally displaced. UNICEF is working with partners to help children uprooted by war recover from the trauma they've experienced and ensure they receive the humanitarian aid they so urgently need.
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Top photo: Seven-year-old Davyd and his family fled Bucha, Ukraine, after shelling began in Feb. 2022. They are now staying with relatives in London. © UNICEF/UN0644827/Giliam. Video edited by Tong Su for UNICEF USA.