Russian Missile Strikes Intensify, Forcing Evacuations at Ukrainian Children's Hospital

Russian Missile Strikes Intensify, Forcing Evacuations at Ukrainian Children's Hospital

In the early hours of Thursday, the Ukrainian air force said Russia had launched two Iskander-M ballistic missiles and six Shahed drones. Regional authorities said one person was injured in the northeastern region of Sumy. Ukrainian air defense shot down all six drones over four different regions. Debris from the drones caused a fire in an open area of Mykolaiv — there are no reports of people being killed or injured. Also, authorities in Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Khmelnytskyi reported no casualties or damage to civilian objects.

The National Cancer Institute in Kyiv remains overwhelmed due to a recent Russian missile attack that heavily damaged Okhmatdyt Children's Hospital, Ukraine's largest children's hospital. The attack was the largest bombardment of Kyiv in four months, forcing dozens of young cancer patients to evacuate, further lessening their chances. Oksana Halak was there with her 2-year-old son Dmytro, who is fighting for his life with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The bombardment started while they were in Okhmatdyt Hospital, and the staff managed to move them to a safer room. After the attack, they were evacuated to the National Cancer Institute, which has hosted since then double the children with oncological diseases.

Families like Halak's are now contemplating evacuation to hospitals in foreign countries for further treatment. Halak intends to relocate Dmytro to Germany because the local resources are not up to the mark in the present scenario. The bombing of the Okhmatdyt children's hospital spurred a national outpouring. Ukrainians and private businesses raised more than $7.3 million in three days for its restoration through the platform UNITED24. Restorative work in the hospital has begun, but it will take months before it can reopen.

Despite the devastation, some families have chosen to stay; among them was Yuliia Vasylenko and her 11-year-old son, Denys, diagnosed with multiple spinal cord tumors. This effect arouses great stress and uncertainty since the treatment for Denys is already delayed by the strike. His mother fears that by moving elsewhere to get his treatment, it would be a waste of time in arranging everything over again. It is a portrait of the resilience of these families and the wider community in general for their unending effort and will to transcend the effects of conflict and be able to give the best care for their children.

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