What’s it like living in a war zone when you’re dependent on electronic devices to survive? 12-year-old Sebastian and his grandmother show how life-threatening the blackouts in Ukraine are for terminally ill people like him.
Sebastian suffers from cystic fibrosis. A rare metabolic disease in which mucus enters various vital organs and gradually clogs them. The lungs are often particularly affected – as with Sebastian.
The 12-year-old Ukrainian is therefore dependent on an electric inhalation device. And that in turn on electricity, which is currently often not available during the countless blackouts. In a report by “CNN”, Sebastian and his grandmother Lyudmila Kadmynska show how they learned to help themselves. For the blackouts, for example, they have acquired a large arsenal of battery-powered light sources.
“He mustn’t miss his inhalations. He could die without it,” says his grandmother and tells how they desperately ran through the streets with the device during the first blackout. They ended up finding a tent where people could charge their smartphones and plugged in the machine there. They now have a small hand-held inhaler. When the blackouts come, it does what it’s supposed to — at least to some extent.
Many people in Ukraine have a similar situation to Sebastian. Senior citizen Olena Isayenko also talks about her experiences. She suffers from lung efficiency and is dependent on oxygen day and night. Also, she lives on the 15th floor.
When the blackouts come, she depends on a portable oxygen device that lasts just two hours. Then it has to be charged for an hour. “If the heating fails or you can’t cook, I can live with that. But my life depends on my oxygen device,” says the elderly woman with a trembling voice.
A non-profit organization in Kiev helps people like Olena and Sebastian. She keeps countless devices in her warehouse. But helper Iryna Koshkina also knows about the life-threatening situation of her protégés: If the machines don’t work, “they die,” she explains in the CNN report, for example. If the power goes out for 20 or 30 hours, they would have to be taken to the hospital. That is currently her only option.
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