[Updated] Practical information for people with disabilities seeking to evacuate Ukraine during the current war – Fight for Right

Fight for Right typographic logo, with yellow Ukrainian typography, and black typography for English.

Practical information for people with disabilities seeking to evacuate Ukraine during the current war – Fight for Right

As the war continues, people with disabilities will continue to want to evacuate and it is essential that they know how to prepare for evacuation and are supported during evacuation.

Deciding to evacuate 

Evacuating in a safe place in Ukraine and/or getting to the border to evacuate to another country can be a long and hard journey for many.  Plan your trip to ensure you take breaks and rest when you need to, and try to bring as little as possible of luggage without leaving yourself short of anything that is essential to you in your day-to-day life. 

What to Bring? Check each category and mark while packing, it will help you stay focused

1) Documents

  • Passport or your personal other official documents, e.g. birth certificate, identity card/passport card.
  • Marriage certificate and children's documents (if it is relevant to you). 
  • Property documents (if it is relevant to you). 
  • Driving license (if it is relevant to you). 
  • Disability and medical documents and cards, e.g. evidence of approval for social security payments or other state support. 
  • If you have an appointed caregiver, and this person is travelling with you, take these documents as well. 

You still can use and present e-documents at Dia application while travelling in Ukraine and at the border (Ukrainian side), but make a note they are not valid abroad. The Ukrainian Ministry of Digital transformation is working with foreign countries receiving Ukrainian refugees to find a long term solution.

2) Medication and hygiene: 

  • A supply of medication for at least one week (if you have it). 
  • Prescription for medications and/or items of individual rehabilitation programs. 
  • Basic hygiene products, such as sanitary products if needed.
  • If you wear glasses, take an additional pair. 
  • If you use a wheelchair you may consider adding a small instrument kit. 

3) Equipment and tech: 

  • Computer, mobile, any other portable table, and/or ebook you may need. 
  • A power bank (if you have one) and chargers for your electronic items (e.g. mobile phone, computer/tablet).  
  • A flashlight and additional batteries for it.

4) Closes and personal belongings: 

  • Change of clothes and undergarments for 2-3 days. Do not pack big items, you should be able to carry your belongings if need be. 
  • Bring warm clothes (including scarves, gloves, hats, thermal wear).

5) Food and water: 

  • Bring as much food and water as you will need for the trip, including a flask with hot water if you can. Prioritize non-perishable items.
  • Take a reusable bottle of water and a small thermos if you have any. A portable knife and fork and spoon also can be useful. 

6) If travelling with your children: 

  • Pack documents, medicine, clothes, and food for children same as for yourself. 
  • Take some toys and books for children. Letting your child choose something important he or she wants to take – will provide them with some comfort. 

7) Additionally: 

  • If you have a pet, keep in mind that pets are allowed to travel without veterinary passports now, but might be subject to additional checks at the border. Take some food and water for your pet as well. Also if possible take a leash, blanket, or a toy, something familiar to calm your pet during travel.
  • Make photocopies and scans of all your important documents and store them online. 
  • Write down on paper important contacts in case your mobile runs out of power. 
  • Make sure to have some money in cash.

Travelling by train

Travelling by train is the better option from the point of road safety right now. It takes less time than traveling by car and you do not have to worry about the petrol. 

But trains are very busy and you often have to stand. Also, it might be difficult to board the train in panic.       

Some tips for travelling by train are below

  • If possible, take the option of getting a taxi to the train station. It is expensive but the best option. 
  • In the railway station, go to the current operating timetable which should be on display. Dont be afraid to ask someone for information if you are unsure. Check if you need tickets, in many places evacuation trains are free now. 
  • When you decide what train you want to take, go directly to the platform. Women and children have priority. 
  • Go to the platform as soon as you can and get on the train. Note: get on early to improve your chances of getting a seat or a suitable place. 
  • When boarding, if you go to the end of the train you might have a better opportunity to get to a good place. 
  • There will be a lot of people but please try not to let this overwhelm you. If you have somebody who can help you navigate and board the train, use all support you can get. 
  • It is helpful to find police and people in military uniforms and ask for help. At the moment, people with disabilities dont have the priority to enter the train ahead of time, but these people might be able to help with that. 
  • Try to get a bus or a taxi to bring you as close to the border as possible when the train arrives at its destination (if arriving by train to the city near the border). There are also options in some cities to take another train which crosses the border. 

Travelling by car: 

  • Try to fill your tank whenever possible and avoid running out of petrol. 
  • Make regular stops at appropriate places and have some rest and/or use WC. 
  • Do not forget to drink and eat while travelling. 
  • Check local volunteers and communities if you need a place to sleep/make a stop. 
  • Generally, you need a technical certificate for your car to travel, these days you may be allowed to cross borders without it. Of course, you need your driving license abroad. 
    • Certificate needed to ensure you have a property right for this car.

At or Near the Border: 

  • If you need assistance to be passed through the border look for volunteers and all for help. Usually, volunteers’ cars are marked with a red cross, or have a serial number on the glass.
  • If you need any specific assistance to explain what you need clearly and correctly, please remember people might want to help you but might lack specific training and knowledge, prepare to explain your needs. 
  • At the border, priority is given to women with children and the elderly.
  • The wait at many border crossings is long and it can be cold, especially at night. Make sure you stay well wrapped up and eat enough food and drink plenty of water (locals help as much as they can to provide food and water). 
  • Do not take photographs of the queue, checkpoints, or the military as you may be detained for doing this.

Specific advice for men

  • According to the law on general mobilization and wartime, all able men aged 18-60 years are forbidden to leave the territory of Ukraine. There are certain exemptions to this restriction, read them carefully and consult with lawyers if need be. 
  • If you are a man with a disability you have permission to leave Ukraine. But there might be issues crossing the border. Make sure you have all your papers handy including a document from the military service (so-called white ticket). 
  • Border control officers might ask you to visit the military service office and go through the medical commission again, to get new medical documents. 
  • If you are travelling with a man, even if he is your caregiver you have to have all necessary documents explaining that he is your formally appointed caregiver. Please bring your documents and anything that will support your case. 
  • If you are a father of a child with a disability, you may have issues crossing the border at this time. You should have all your supporting documents with you to support your case for crossing. 

General advice 

  • Stay informed and connected via radio, tv and the internet as much as you can, and follow the official advice for your safety.
    • The Ukraine State Emergency Services (DNES) has a WhatsApp helpline for critical updates. To start using the helpline, save the number +380676785917 in your contacts and text the word почати (begin) in a WhatsApp message. Link: https://www.turn.io/news/ukraine-state-emergency-services 
  • Officials are generally helpful. Please dont be afraid to ask for help. 
  • Here is a hotline for the Free State Legal Aid Service, they provide all necessary consultations on crossing the border and documents issues now, save the number 0 800 213 103 
  • Try your best to remain calm and if you can walk, do so at a normal pace. It will be clearer that you are a civilian this way. It may also be useful to put your hands in the air if you can when passing soldiers. 
  • If you need help, additional help, or advice about evacuation you can contact us at info@ffr.org.ua. We are also providing emotional support via +380978831508

Fight for Right @fightforrightua is supporting people with disabilities to evacuate. You can support them via their Go Fund Me page here: https://gofundme.com/f/help-disabled-ukrainians

Fight for Right @fightforrightua has information on their website including a hotline please check it out https://eng.ffr.org.ua/support-in-crisis/eng

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.