Sunday, 17 January 2016

Siberian woman,71, who lived her entire life in wilderness airlifted to hospital

Agafya Lykova is the last remaining member of a Russian family that took to the woods after her father’s brother was shot by Stalinist soldiers in 1936. As members of a breakaway sect of the Russian Orthodox church, Lykova’s family was subject to harassment and persecution, and so decided to flee far from Stalin’s grasp.
And they succeeded, so isolated were their lives in the wilderness that the family didn’t learn that World War II had occurred until their remote cabin was spotted in the 1970s by a group of geologists.
Agafya, now 71, has continued to live in her isolated cabin despite offers of accommodations in more settled areas.

According to the Siberian Times, the cabin is more than 150 meters up a remote mountainside and subject to brutal winters that even Lykova admits are “unbearable.” Her unusual life, free from almost all 21st- or even most 20th- century modernity has been a source of interest to many in the region, including the Governor of the Kemerovo region where she resides, Aman Tuleyev.
Her early life was barbarically difficult. She grew up without metal, pots or cutlery, and often had nothing to eat but what she could catch in temperatures that plummeted down to minus 40 degrees Celsius.
For the first 35 years of her life, Agafya had no contact with anyone outside her family.
 
It was only in 1978 that a group of geologists accidentally stumbled across the family, with scientists reporting that Agafya spoke a strange language, 'distorted by a lifetime of isolation'.
Gradually, she came into contact with local authorities, but refused to leave her home despite the hardships.
Her home is frequently raided by hungry foxes and bears looking for food but officials expect her to still go home when she leaves hospital.
In the past, her family has been so hungry and desperate that they were once forced to eat their own shoes.
Tuleyev, who frequently sends Agytha care packages with food and warm clothing, also provided her with a satellite phone for emergencies.

This week, after 70 years that have seen the deaths of her siblings and parents, famines caused by severe weather, and attacks by hungry animals- she finally needed to use that emergency option.
Suffering more than a week with severe leg pain, Ms. Lykova used the phone to call for help, and was airlifted to a hospital in what was probably the most mind-bending first helicopter ride in history.
Doctors have since treated her for cartilage deterioration, and while she remains under observation, many believe she’ll ask to return to her cabin soon.