Ukrainians are leaving their homes with the government’s help to escape winter conditions without sufficient power or heat. According to The New York Times, the evacuations are voluntary and began after Russia’s increased attacks on Ukraine's infrastructure that have disrupted the lives of residents across the country.
Residents of Kherson, which was recently liberated from Russia, have been offered free evacuations by the government to safer areas in Ukraine, The Guardian reports. Ukrainian authorities are offering free accommodations to those who evacuate, as well as food and medical attention, per CNN.
Civilians are leaving amid fears that Ukraine's infrastructure is too damaged to provide adequate resources for people to endure the cold winter. Damage from Russian shelling caused rolling blackouts, water shortages and heating disturbances.
The World Health Organization said it expects 2 to 3 million Ukrainian civilians to “leave their homes in search of warmth and safety” this winter.
The Ukrainian government is planning to help evacuate Mykolaiv residents, who have also been extremely affected by lack of energy and heat. Ukraine is known for having brutal winters and some regions of Ukraine have already experienced temperatures below freezing.
Other regions of Ukraine that are not evacuating have been cautioned to prepare for the cold weather during the war. According to The Guardian, officials have told residents to be prepared for lengthy power outages.
Civilians are being instructed to stock up on blankets and clothes and anything else to help with long outages.