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Odesa: The Pearl of the Black Sea

Maranie Staab | Ukraine

Hundreds of people gather in the rain outside of a school turned resource center in Odesa, Ukraine. Here they will be registered and helped with an array of needs. People can have a warm meal, or get clothing or other items they may not have been able to take with them when they fled, get assistance with housing or transportation to another destination, or receive medical care. Most have arrived by train and fled continued fighting in the Donbass, Kharkiv, Mykolayiv, and villages in the east.

In Maranie Staab’s final week in Ukraine, she spent a week photographing in the historic city of Odesa, often called the Pearl of the Black Sea. Much of her work here involved photographing for World Central Kitchen, a humanitarian organization founded by celebrity chef José Andrés and now providing meals throughout Ukraine.

Until recently, Odesa was spared the heavy shelling seen in Mariupol, Kharkiv, Kherson, Kyiv and other cities, but starting in late April Russian forces started shelling the city causing significant damage and death. Russian sources had indicated that Putin plans to occupy the entire Black Sea coast into the Transnistria breakaway region in Moldova. Odesa is the next city after Mykolaiv on this crusade.

The images shown here by Maranie are of displaced people from other parts of Ukraine who are seeking shelter in this safer city, or the Odesa residents themselves who are trying to get by with aid provided by many sources as the local economy is nearly collapsed as a result of the Russian destruction of civilian infrastructure.

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