Longing for silence
Diplomacy fails the folk on the edge
A subterranean life
LYUBA VOEVCHIK lives underground. Her neighbourhood, the Petrovsky district of Donetsk, is close to eastern Ukraine's front line. When shells began landing on her street last summer, she moved to the dank basement of a local cultural centre, where she and her two youngest sons share a narrow bed with faded pink sheets. Frightened and exhausted, Ms Voevchik has not slept at home in nearly a year. The latest ceasefire has provided little solace. “They should hush up,” Ms Voevchik says with a sigh. “They promised.”
Those promises were the subject of high-level talks between Russia and America last week. John Kerry, America's secretary of state, conferred with Vladimir Putin, Russia's president. Victoria Nuland, another American envoy, shuttled between Kievand Moscow, urging compliance with the faltering Minsk peace plan.
But as diplomats keep talking, the guns keep sputtering and civilians like Ms Voevchik keep suffering. The United Nations estimates that the war has left 5m people in need of humanitarian help. Of the more than 6,000 killed since last April, most have been civilians. Some 2m people have been displaced, and countless more reduced to lives of basic survival. Worst hit are the sick, the elderly and children.
The woes of front-line residents have mounted as the authorities who are supposed to succour them vanish. Ukraine's government has stopped financing the separatist-held territories (including pension payments and doctors' salaries), and has offered haphazard help to the internally displaced on its side of the lines.
The separatist leadership has proved capable of little more than waging war. Russia's aid to the region has been heavy on guns and light on butter. “It turned out that nobody cares about the people,”says Evgeniy Shibalov, co-founder of Responsible Citizens, a volunteer-run humanitarian aid group in Donetsk.The outside world has ignored the plight of theDonbas region, treating war as a geopolitical rather than a humanitarian problem. Of the $316m the UN requested for aid toUkraine this year, only a quarter has been pledged.
分裂分子领导人已被证明只有能力发动战争。俄罗斯为乌克兰提供的救援中，多数为枪支，而不是生活供给。Responsible Citizens，这个由志愿者经营的人道主义援助小组位于顿涅茨克，其共同创始人Evgeniy Shibalov表示：“结果居然没有人关心人民。”世界忽视了顿巴斯地区的困境，把战争看成地理政治问题，而不是人道主义问题。联合国要求今年给乌克兰提供3亿1千6百万美元的救助，而只有四分之一到位。
Humanitarian organisations and volunteers have stepped in. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) opened five offices in the area. Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF), a health charity, has sent dozens of doctors. During the heaviest fighting, Responsible Citizens delivered aid to “red zone” areas which others deemed too dangerous. Pomozhem, a foundation started by Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine's richest oligarch and a native of Donetsk, distributes monthly food handouts to over 800,000 people on both sides of the lines. More still sign up every month. The foundation's 12kg package of essentials like salt, sugar, pasta and flour “helps us survive in this nightmare”, says one pensioner from Donetsk's Kievskiy district, which borders the city's heavily bombed airport.
人道主义组织和志愿者们已经介入。国际红十字会在乌克兰开设了五个办事处。一个健康慈善机构Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF)已经往乌克兰派遣了几十名医生。在战斗最激烈的时候，Responsible Citizens小组给“红色地带”，这个其他人视作危险地区的区域提供救援。Rinat Akhmetov是乌克兰最富有的寡头，也是顿涅茨克本地人，由他创建的Pomozhem基金会，每个月为前线八十多万人提供食品救济，救助人数每个月还在不断增加。Pomozhem基金会用于运送像盐，糖，意大利面和面粉这些生活必需品的十二公斤包裹“帮助我们在噩梦中存活下来”， 一位来自顿涅茨克Kievskiy区的老人如是说。Kievskiy区毗邻被严重轰炸的机场区域。
When war was raging, aid workers focused on treating the wounded and evacuating civilians. Now, as fighting has ebbed (though not fully ceased), attention has turned to securing medical and food supplies and rebuilding damaged homes. Ukrainian government restrictions have exacerbated supply shortages, limited civilian access to aid and deepened resentment in separatist-held areas. Pensioners can only retrieve funds in government-controlled territory, and many are physically or economically unable to get there. To cross the lines, residents need a pass from the Kiev authorities; that can take months. The rebel authorities pay pensions sporadically.
Other problems will linger long after all fire ceases. “When the conflict stops, it doesn't mean life goes completely back to normal,” says David Nash of MSF in Donetsk. Unexploded ordnance hides along country roads. Psychological trauma haunts daily life. At one school near the front, childish drawings adorn the wall. Subjects include two soldiers running through a field beside two tanks under a receding sun, an old woman and a boy huddled with their cat and dog in front of a burning home, and two children gripping their mother in candlelight, with the words, “Give us back the quiet!”
其他问题将在全面停火后仍然持续存在。来自顿涅茨克的MSF机构的David Nash表示：“冲突停止后，并不意味着生活将完全回归正常。”未爆炸武器藏于国家道路中。心里创伤影响着人们的日常生活。在一所靠近前线的学校里，稚嫩的绘画装饰着墙壁。夕阳西下，两名战士穿过两架坦克旁的一片田野；一位老妇人和一个男孩与猫和狗一起蜷缩于燃烧的房屋前；两名儿童在烛光中紧抓着他们的母亲，嘴里说到：“让我们重回安静的生活！”译者：吴倩 校对：胡雅琳