Natalija from Bachmut: at the moment our biggest wish is to find a home in Lithuania
Natalija Licina from Bachmut arrived in Lithuania at the beginning of December with her whole family - two sons, husband and mother in law, also she took dog and cat. "It was not possible to stay in Ukraine, it was very unsafe, the city is very heavily besieged", - Natalija begins her story. Like many war refugees fleeing the horrors of war, she and her family travelled by train until they reached Klaipėda.
"We are currently living temporarily in an apartment rented through Airbnb, we came to Klaipėda with no specific plan, we just knew we wanted to feel safe. Therefore, accommodation was very important to us. We currently have a short-term apartment and are looking for a longer-term place to stay," says Natalija. She is happy that her husband has already found a job where he hopes to stay. Children are studying at a distance learning school in Ukraine and communicating with their peers through various apps, so life is slowly getting back on track.
"We like Lithuania very much, we can communicate everywhere. Recently in Klaipėda we had a St. Nicola’s Day celebration. It was a great day in Klaipėda, and our children enjoyed it very much, we could finally watch the festivities in peace and not worry that something is about to fall or that alarm sirens are going to go off," - Natalija shares her impressions.
Her biggest holiday wish at the moment is to find a home for her large family and pets. "It's the pets that make it difficult to find a place to live, but unfortunately when landlords hear that we have pets, they either ask for a bigger deposit or they just don't want to rent an apartment. I understand their fears, but we are a friendly and tidy family," - says Natalija.
After fierce fighting, Bakhmut and its suburbs are now completely destroyed and uninhabitable. So people in the city are moving to a safer city or leaving the country if they have the chance.
IOM Lithuania invites Ukrainians arriving in Lithuania to take advantage of free temporary accommodation. "In cooperation with the Airbnb accommodation platform, Ukrainians fleeing war can rent accommodation for 7 to 30 days for free, during which time they can look for a long-term place to stay. Accommodation is perhaps the most important issue when you arrive in a foreign country, and that is why we aim to help war refugees", says Dalia Kedavičienė, Crisis Management Programme Coordinator at IOM Lithuania. For short-term rentals, please contact Strong Together on the short number 1808 or directly to the IOM Lithuania office at +37061516930 and by e-mail at IOMUArent@iom.int.
IOM and AirBNB are successfully implementing this project in 7 countries: Poland, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Lithuania. In total, more than 120,000 overnight stays have been provided and more than 5,000 Ukrainians have benefited from this service. Almost 600 free nights have been provided in Lithuania.
There are currently just over 72,000 Ukrainians in Lithuania.