As an international movement with Clubs across the globe and contacts with Clubs in Ukraine and neighbouring countries, the Rotary movement has been able to connect with others and adapt quickly to support those in Ukraine and meet many needs. Here are just some of the activities the Rotary movement is involved with.
Donations: With Rotary Clubs from across the UK have raised over 500,000 euros towards the Ukraine crisis and donations continue. The funds are being used to meet a variety of needs but especially supporting the healthcare and medical professionals in the field.
The International Rotary Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals is in regular contact with colleagues in Ukraine and surrounding districts – weekly, sometimes more often. This direct contact with those on the frontline has given Rotary a picture of the conditions in Ukraine which is far worse than portrayed in the media. In a letter the Ukraine Deputy Minister for European Integration said: 'Several hospitals have been shelled; ambulances destroyed. Unfortunately, we suffer losses among doctors, drivers, and patients when we leave to provide emergency care. A lot of medical infrastructure is destroyed. Many patients are at risk of being left without access to medicine.'
Fundraising: There has been good response to our appeal for donations for medical aid. The first instalment of £5,000 will support a dedicated account in Poland and will be used primarily to meet medical needs. The next instalment will be subject to Rotary receiving follow up reports.
With no overheads or consultant fees every penny Rotary receive is for frontline Rotarians to help their own people. I urge anyone reading this to be mindful that, unlike other charities, we are unique in the way we support Rotarians on the frontline without top slicing funds for ‘management’. https://rotaryhealthprofessionals.org/donate/
Medical Equipment: With the help of colleagues on the front line, we have prepared a list of essential medicines and devices needed in Ukraine. We have also worked out ground logistics, safe local airports, overland routes, and other aspects. At the border with Poland, Rotary has access to warehouses with temperature-controlled storage for drugs. We can also assist with large cargo carrying aircraft as well as smaller aircraft both at international hubs and at smaller airports near the Ukrainian border. Having thus become organised, we have reached out to colleagues in other countries.
Rotary is also trying to push open doors at NHS England (Ukraine desk) and some companies. If anyone has contact with medical companies (equipment, drugs), please ask for help and tell them that we have our finger on the pulse and a grass root network of volunteers who do everything for free!!
Inter County Committees: act as a communication route between our nations. This is especially so with Ukraine, Romania and Moldova. We link with established contacts to answer key questions. A major benefit of Rotary over other NGOs is that we have people in the community in every country who understand and are able to support their community needs and remove barriers. The lead on our Ukrainian ICC, Tata Gick, (D1130), is a member of this Taskforce. We are linking with local Rotarians inside Ukraine to establish the needs, particularly medical, and in bordering countries to identify what is needed to support displaced refugees and find safe routes for money. We have started sending funds to the bordering nations. Using our ICC links in Moldova we are helping ShelterBox establish in country by connecting it with the government and other relevant bodies. ShelterBox bring extensive knowledge of Disaster Relief and what works with traumatised displaced people and refugees. We have established a team
Water Survival Box: has sent two pallets/of toothpaste and toothbrushes valued at £8000 to Poland in support of refugees via their landlord, Parker Transport. International Medical Corps (IMC), an NGO well known to them, has requested 200 Water Survival Boxes which they are making available. They will go shortly to a DHL depot in Poland and then on to Ukraine when the IMC pipeline is ready to take them. IMC is a large US NGO who have previously helped deliver boxes in Puerto Rico, Philippines, and The Bahamas. The Water Survival Box team are in communication with their Kyiv and USA staff.
Shelter Box: is committed to support the escalating humanitarian needs. We are liaising with Rotary and we’ll be working with partners to support people both in Ukraine and those who have fled the country. In Ukraine: We’re preparing items like mattresses for people living in ‘collective centres’ like schools and sports centres in western Ukraine. We’re also planning aid packages of shelter kits with tools and rope, hygiene kits, solar lights and water carriers to help people survive as they are forced to live in damaged buildings. People who have become refugees in neighbouring countries are on the move and will not be able to carry additional items. So, we’re looking at providing the most essential items that people can carry with them, such as hygiene items and warm winter jackets, as well as the possibility of cash assistance to help people meet their emergency shelter needs. Our expertise in emergency shelter makes us well placed to coordinate with others, so that together we can support as many people hit by this crisis as possible. Alex Orme has provided an update from Poland: https://bit.ly/3sWMORg I also wanted to share with you a link to a BBC interview Alex gave recently: https://bit.ly/3KMuEYH
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