‘She sleeps on the couch’: After the bombings in Ukraine, this 71-year-old grandmother struggles to find a place to live in Lyon

Nadezhda Denisenko, 71, spent two days in this underground shelter north of Kyiv before being evacuated to France thanks to the continued commitment of her Lyon-based family. (©DR)

Her name is Nadezhda Denisenko. Today, the 71-year-old Ukrainian woman lives in Lyon’s 7th arrondissement with her daughter Elena and son-in-law Christian Chenet. Twenty days ago she was hiding in the basement to take cover in case of fire.

Elena has been living in France for 19 years. She lives in Lyon with her husband Christian Chenet and their son Lenny. She still has her whole family in Ukraine. So whenRussia attacked Ukraine On February 24, she did everything to evacuate her mother.

“She slept for two days in a shelter” north of Kyiv

Nadia Denisenko is 71 years old. She lived in the suburbs of Kyiv, or rather in Vychgorod. A city that lies between the capital of Ukraine and the armed forces of Russia. It was absolutely necessary to make her leave.

“She slept in the shelter for two days, but there was no electricity or heating, it was too hard for her,” Elena explains. Nadezhda Denisenko smiles politely, but his face remains covered. In front of her, Ukrainian television is broadcasting footage of shelling by Russian troops.

Nadezhda Denisenko surrounded by her son-in-law Christian Schöne and daughter Elena.
Nadezhda Denisenko surrounded by her son-in-law Christian Schöne and daughter Elena. (© AS / Lyon News)

Stuck on the border between Ukraine and Poland

It was Elena’s brother, who was then in the west of the country, when the conflict broke out, evacuated her mother from the city. “She took a train in Kyiv bound for Lvov (in the west). They were located 25 kilometers from the Polish border crossing Dolgobychuv-Kolonia.

“I wrote to many people that my 71-year-old mother-in-law was there,” says Chrisitan Chenet. We asked a lot of people, but no one was around to pick her up. »

There was an option for buses to Krakow or Warsaw, but they are few and it was too difficult for an older woman and one.

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In the end, Polish private driver answers them. The latter intends to take advantage of this humanitarian crisis to make money. “He asked us for 650 euros to take him to the border with Germany. We also had to pay him for gas, and he demanded 100 euros from my wife’s brother when he picked up his mother. »

800 euros spent to deliver it to the border with Germany

In total, the family had to spend 800 euros on the repatriation of Nadezhda Denisenko to the border with Germany. “I thanked him anyway,” adds Christian Chenet, who was most happy to find his mother-in-law safe and sound.

He thought that things would be easier in France. The city of Lyon and the prefecture of the Rhone, boasting of the opportunity to receive Ukrainian refugees, Christian Chenet told himself that there would be no problems. But this is administrative hell.

Refugee Forum crowded in Lyon

“When I arrived in Lyon, I contacted the French Red Cross to sort out my mother-in-law, so I was told that I should make an appointment with the refugee forum on 06 12 42 66 50, which is what I tried to do. do, but to no avail. I left several messages but no one answered. I’m still waiting for a goodbye. »

Contacted News Lyon, the Forum Réfugiés-Cosi in Lyon is full: “At the moment we have only two people who take care of the reception of Ukrainians. We are trying to get more, but while there is a long wait, sometimes it is not possible to receive on the same day. »

“My 71-year-old mother-in-law sleeps on the couch”

Forum Réfugiés-Cosi asks for patience. The patience that Christian Chenet and his family are losing…

“I contacted my social landlord to indicate my new position, that now I have another person at home, a refugee from Ukraine, that my 71-year-old mother-in-law sleeps on the sofa, because we don’t have any free places. Therefore, I wanted to know if social housing is planned in Alyada? To see if we can apply for another accommodation with an extra bedroom….Stay with the mother-in-law and not send her to someone else’s hosts It.”

Christian Chenet

Alliade Habitat replied that nothing was planned and that he should apply for housing at requiree-logement-social.gouv.fr… So Christian Chenet turned to the prefecture of the Rhone, who replied: “No, there is nothing on our side, come closer “. to your town hall. »

“So many beautiful words from our leaders, but in reality nothing works”

Therefore, he called the town hall of the 7th district of Lyon: the same answer, nothing is planned on their part. “Where are things? asks a man who, along with his family, goes to all rallies in support of Ukraine on Place Bellecour. “What beautiful words of our leaders, but in reality nothing turns out, it’s a shame! »

Christian Schöne will return to the Polish border to bring food with his son Lenny at the end of April.  This is a whole family that today is fighting from France for their loved ones who remained in Ukraine.
Christian Schöne will return to the Polish border to bring food with his son Lenny at the end of April. This is a whole family that today is fighting from France for their loved ones who remained in Ukraine. (© AS / Lyon News)

Recently, the prefecture of the Rhone reportedNews Lyon that “everything is being done” to accommodate displaced persons in better conditions. “We are currently working on expanding the system with Forum Réfugiés to accommodate more people every day. »

Meanwhile, Nadezhda Denisenko, who left her husband, is still sleeping on the couch at the height of her 71 years and has yet to be nominated for the refugee status promised by France to Ukrainians and Ukrainians fleeing the war.

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