As the war in Ukraine continues, a woman in South Florida detailed the heart-wrenching moments she's had to endure without knowing if her family back in the country was safe.
Video obtained by NBC 6 shows the aftermath of a Russian shelling in Ukraine in the city of Mykolaiv — the destroyed building is located right next to where Kateryna Romanenko’s parents lived until war broke out. Her neighbor recently sent her the video.
“I live from message to message that my family is alive — every day I don’t go to sleep," said Romanenko. "It’s the most difficult and horrible time in my life right now."
Her parents just recently were able to make it to another region in Ukraine.
Her brother is in Kharkiv. He, his wife, and his 6-year-old son also escaped, running while under fire. Their apartment was bombed. and most of their possessions are gone.
“Luckily they successfully escape under attack," Romanenko said. "I don’t even know the physical address where they are."
But every night she waits for a text or a call, or if she’s really lucky, a video from her parents.
“We are alive. Everything is ok, don’t worry," her parents told her in a video message. "We keep holding on, we will win and everything will be OK. I will hug and kiss you, all will be well, my dear kids.”
Romanenko's raised about $10,000 on a Gofundme page for her family. She said since she can't be there to support them physically, at least she’s trying to support them financially as they try to survive day after day.
Each day, Romanenko waits for more pictures from her family — like one of her young nephew watching cartoons inside an underground bunker.
“It’s really hard to be here — be safe — and know all your family is still there and I cannot do anything," she said.