Violence and hostilities in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Israel is escalating. Several thousand people have already lost their lives and sadly this number is likely to increase. Many more thousands have already been displaced with still thousands more injured and missing.
Hope and Aid Direct “takes aid, not sides”!
This is more than just our motto, it’s the humanitarian ‘absolute’ that we have operated by since our inception.
We all know that there are two sides to every story (at least), and we all know that sometimes it’s nearly impossible to remain impartial, but there can be no legality or acceptability for murder of innocent civilians by any person or country.
We stand shoulder to shoulder with all innocent civilians.
We stand against all war crimes, ethnic cleansing and genocide committed by any side.
We call-out all war criminals, and support the call for all war criminals on all sides to be prosecuted and brought to justice.
As a charity we do not work in this part of the world, but we cannot just sit and watch as the terrifying escalation of violence is leaving people in urgent need of humanitarian support and medical aid. People have lost friends, family, homes and income; everything including hope! Whilst we do not take sides, which is critical in this very complicated and political conflict, we always ensure that our aid and efforts are directed towards those most in need.
There are charities and individuals with whom we have worked in the past, in both the Greek Islands and Ukraine who are present on the ground and who have already lost colleagues in this war. We are currently assessing what we can do within the confines of these partnerships, to provide much needed aid once humanitarian corridors are open. In addition to these partnerships, we have been in contact with a number of international organisations working in the region with regards to bulk aid that we have access to, to see if this can be supplied to them.
Because of the complexity of the situation we have not, as yet, set up any fundraiser. If we conclude that we could use any money raised effectively then we will start a fundraiser urgently. If you particularly wish to donate through Hope and Aid Direct to support victims of this war then please donate using our donate button, and note in your donation that it is to be used for this purpose; we will ensure it gets to the right place via a partner organisation.
To ensure that we have accurate and regularly updated needs lists
From a mixture of individual and corporate donors, keeping costs low
Using our own trucks or via backloads we move aid to our partners or direct to beneficiaries
We therefore set about thinking about moving Frantic out to Ukraine. During the planning of this it became quickly apparent that this would be a larger trip due to the great corporate support that we are currently getting from Whitbread/Premier Inn. We mentioned in the April newsletter about this partnership, and since then we have been working with the teams in the relevant organisations to start the process of collecting, sorting, grading and packing mattresses, moving them around the country as required.
The team at Whitbread suggested they would like to take a film crew out to Poland and Ukraine to record the journey from start to finish of the mattresses that they are donating. There are plans afoot to work with Whitbread on several more items that that are thinking they may be able to supply, and given the number of hotels they operate, if they have 1 lamp spare chances are they have 8000, so understanding and documenting how the end to end process works is really useful for them to be able to put proposals to the relevant stakeholders. In addition to the mattresses mentioned below there are many more in the pipeline and it is envisaged that as these come online they will be moved by backload to Kyiv and then around the country via UOP.
The current convoy therefore involves a team from Whitbread, including a film crew, Grumpy, one of our 7.5 tonne trucks which is full of mattresses, Frantic which has a mixed load of bedding, medical, toys, sanitary and hygiene and our 40 tonne truck carrying another 40+ mattresses, some new duvets with the rest of the load being the same mixed items as Frantic.
The trucks have driven through Germany into Poland and are due to reach the border on the 16th. The plan is then to unload, and reload into a Ukrainian truck who will take the load to Kyiv before it is moved onward, all of which will be put onto film. Of course, as soon as we have this we can make this available to you via our website and social channels. For now here are a couple of shots.
Some of you will recall that towards the start of the year we moved some water tanks out to Ukraine. With that in mind, when the dam burst we thought it wise to speak with our contacts and see if we could replicate the previous loads of water tanks that we sent out. We were not really prepared for the response!!!!
Whilst initially our contacts could not provide anything, they asked around the UK water networks and Severn Trent Water do have surplus supplies that they want to move. It has taken a lot of calls and negotiation to move this one forward as we are talking about roughly 50-70 full artic loads, yes that many 40 tonne truck loads of 1000 and 2500l water containers, hoses and other equipment that is badly needed.
Due to the number of units involved we have needed to work with Alla who has been liaising with a variety of municipalities to work out who needs what. In a nutshell, as we move forward with this one we could be supporting the communities of Dnipro, Kherson, Mykoliav and Zaporizhzhia.
The next complication of course is funding this number of trucks, we will of course be relying on all of your fundraising efforts to be able to get these loads moving.
Medical donations are historically complicated. they involve very specialist equipment, for very specific uses, and with our ethos of making sure we only take the right aid to the right people at the right time it is something that we have actively pushed to other NGO's in the past This time however, with the offer of medical syringes and other specific items in the millions we were prepared to look closer into this offer to see how we could make this one work.
The quantities involved could rival the water aid above in terms of truck quantities but for now, we are at the behest of Alla at UOP to ensure that we are able to move these to the required hospitals and final required beneficiaries.
It is likely that in the first instance, Hope and Aid Direct and TEECH, who we have worked closely with in the past, will take at least 2 large truck loads each and should this be successful, more will follow.
More details and pictures of course will be published once these items are on their way.
Given all of the potential trucks that will need to leave the coming months, just to deal with the large corporate donations previously mentioned, let alone the day to day aid, we will need funding.
We are speaking to government departments to try and obtain support, in particular for the water tanks, however as has always been the case, most of the funding has come from you wonderful people, doing all sorts of great things and we urge you not to stop now.
If there is any summer left, get out there and do something special and get those funds flowing. It can be anything that brings in pennies, pounds, hundreds or thousands of pounds.
One such initiative has been the ongoing fundraising by Great Waltham C of E Primary School. They have been running a non uniform day and so far have raised £314.45, thank you to all involved.
Lets see what we can all do to keep these trucks moving and the much needed aid flowing out to Ukraine.