It took the world ten days to find out if anyone survived a theater bombing in Mariupol.
Footage filmed from inside the building shows people covered in dust, visibly in shock, but alive. Only now have these cell phone photos made it to the outside world.
On March 16, a theater housing more than a thousand civilians was bombed in the hotly contested city in southern Ukraine.
The word “children” was clearly marked in the ground outside and was visible from the air.
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Pregnant women took shelter in a bombed out theater
For the first time, Sky News has also told pregnant women who were rescued from a Maternity bombed in Mariupol had been moved to the theater for security reasons.
Seven days later, the theater was also hit.
We spoke to Diana Berg who lived next door to the theater but fled the city before it was bombed.
“I know there were pregnant women who were brought in from the maternity ward of the third hospital which was bombed the previous days,” she says.
“They were brought to the theater because it was a big building and they put these pregnant women with children in the actors’ dressing rooms. It was in this part that was bombed. They were in the theater, exactly at the point where he was hit. That’s what we know.
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Hospital number three in Mariupol was a children’s hospital and a maternity ward. Journalists were still in the city when it was hit by a Russian airstrike on March 9.
Footage has emerged showing injured pregnant women trying to escape for their lives. According to Ms. Berg, some of these women were then taken to the theater.
So far, we don’t know how many people lost their lives in the theater attack.
At least 300 lives lost
Mariupol City Council said, according to eyewitnesses, at least 300 people lost their lives. It is unknown how many more may still be buried here.
Ms Berg says there are now so many bodies in Mariupol that not all of them are buried and body parts are hanging from the trees. Those who are still living this nightmare have few means to make themselves heard.
But British photographer Max Clarke recently walked away with new images of the reality people are experiencing.
“Much of what happens on this side of the contact line is underestimated,” Clarke says. “It’s almost indescribable how devastated this city is.”
“There isn’t a single building that isn’t burnt or untouched. People are just traumatized and dazed. They live without electricity, food or heating. Temperatures have only risen recently, but they have been below zero until last week.”
The town lost almost all power weeks ago, there is no internet, hardly any phone signal. Information entering and leaving the city is almost non-existent.
Trapped in living hell
People who managed to leave Mariupol told Sky News they did not know whether the country was under Russian control or not until they escaped.
He added: “The bodies are mostly buried now, but there are still some. You can definitely smell the ones that are inaccessible through the rubble. There are dogs feeding on pieces of human bone. of people. There are freshly dug graves everywhere.”
“There are burnt out vehicles and charred vehicles with the charred remains of their drivers still there. We saw a blackened body when we arrived and the next day it was missing limbs and had various red flesh exposed because the dogs l had eaten overnight. It’s pretty hellish.
The scenes he describes are unthinkable.
The people trapped in Mariupol cannot speak for themselves at this time – but they must be rescued from this living hell.