Reference : V-P-UA-E-00530
Date : 14/07/2016
Country/Region : UKRAINE
Caption : Donetsk. The ICRC helps families find relatives. Elena looks out over the lake she used to visit when her son Iurii, who disappeared during fall 2014, was a child.
Photographer : HOFFMAN, Brendan
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : ICRC website article, 05.10.2016: "Ukraine crisis: Uncertainty on both sides of the contact line. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and grandparents of the missing on both sides of the conflict in Ukraine cope as best they can with an impossible, wholly intolerable situation.
Waiting to discover what has happened to their relatives means living in limbo, denied the chance to mourn or a reason to stop hoping against hope. This uncertainty has a severe emotional, social and economic impact on the loved ones of the missing. [...]
Before Iurii disappeared, Elena had suffered a stroke which led to her losing her job, but at 55 years she was not yet old enough to receive a pension. As a result, she depended heavily on her son.
“Iurii, my son, he is gone to the unknown. I am completely alone,” says Elena. Tears run down her face as she talks about her son. “Iurii was such a wonderful son. When I suffered from a stroke two years ago, he was there to help me. He came to the hospital every day, bringing me medication, making sure that I was eating and taking care of myself…”
He called her the day he disappeared. He asked her to find a photo of him that he’d needed for some administrative paperwork. “I simply cannot accept that photos will be the last I see of my son,” says Elena.
She is not alone in her sorrow. Iurii’s wife and eleven-year-old daughter are waiting for him to come back too. “My daughter-in-law is very kind to me. She visits me from time to time, even though she does not live in the same city. She brings my granddaughter along…my little kid…she wants her father. Her teacher set the class a task to write about their most important wish in life. Kids were writing about new toys and other things they dream about in that age, but my girl only wrote that she just wants her father to come back…” cries Elena.
The photograph is part of the ICRC exhibition "Uncertainty".
Original material : digital
Resolution : 3840x5760
Orientation : portrait
Colour/B&W : colour