London, 9 March 2022 – After travelling to the Ukrainian border, the UK-based charity Hope and Aid Direct (HaAD) has called on people to send money and appropriate donations while highlighting difficulties around aid. Its volunteer staff have seen and responded to conflict before - but nothing could have prepared them for the outpouring of help, both needed and offered, it has received since the war broke out in the Ukraine.
“Our phones, inboxes, WhatsApp groups and all other forms of communications have gone totally mad. But the transportation of aid is complex, you can’t just load a van and go,” commented Roger Wilson, trustee.
In fact, you need a registered receiving NGO in the country to invite you and deal with the paperwork. They, in turn, need to have the correct warehousing and facilities to receive the aid and move it on to those that need it most.
The charity has responded quickly with Wilson travelling to the region to monitor the situation and understand where their support could be best utilised.
“In Poland, there is a sense of organised chaos. People are arriving, food, medical supplies and the right type of aid is available – and there are systems in place for the onward journeys to major cities in the country. Unfortunately the story is not the same for other border countries, such as Romania, Slovakia and Moldova.”
In Slovakia, whilst the borders are very similar, people are arriving mostly on foot. It is busier than the Polish border with many smaller volunteer organisations on the ground – and less coordination.
“Amongst the many with a genuine desire to provide support, there are some offering ‘help’ in exchange for, I am not sure for what, but you certainly get the feeling that the bowl of soup is far from free.”
Wilson also pointed out that there were hundreds of well-intentioned black bags of clothes:
“Some is of course needed, but there is too much. If you want to help refugees, please donate funds or the right aid such as medical supplies and food.”
The charity have relationships with registered NGOs in neighbouring countries:
"I travelled to the region to meet up with some long-term contacts we have in the region. We have reliable NGOs that we can work with in Romania, Moldova and Slovakia.”
People can donate and find out more at https://www.hopeandaiddirect.org.uk/Appeal/ukraine