PALM BEACH, Fla. — War is ugly, destructive and it's deadly. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is no different. Smack dab in the middle is Karina Brez Emmer's family.
"We have on my mom's side, her niece and her niece's kids. That is someone who I reached out to," she said.
Emmer said during the first day of the bombing she was able to reach her cousin Lina and her two children by video call on Instagram.
"I mean, I was a nervous wreck. I was like, 'Are you OK? Is everything OK?'" she said. "I went to preparation panic mode. Day two got scarier. They were like, 'We had to spend the night in the basement of our building the bomb sirens were going off.'"
She said the bombing and her cousin and two kids huddling in the basement of their building went on for about a week. Then, communication with them went silent.
"Nothing for like at least a day and a half, and I would message them in the morning, check-in in the evening just to keep the communication going," she said. "The scariest part, I think, was to not just see how you're doing, but are you alive?"
Her cousin, two kids and her pets were able to make it onto a bus heading to Poland. A trip that usually takes 18 hours took three days.
"She finally messages me yesterday and she says, 'We just got to Poland. We're staying in a place 30 miles from the border. We're going to be here for two days and we're going to move to another place,'" she said.
Emmer said she was able to find her cousin and her two daughters a place to stay through social media. At the moment, there are no plans to bring them here to the U.S.