A delegation of volunteers from the West Shore is preparing for another trip to Ukraine to bring much-needed supplies to the war-torn country.
Russia invaded Ukraine 19 months ago, killing hundreds of thousands of people and destroying towns throughout the country.
At a news conference in Colwood Monday morning, Ukrainian doctor Oleg Atamnoik said the violence has gotten worse.
“Every day, we have a rocket attack,” Atamnoik explained. “Approximately 40 to 50 rockets every day.”
Attacks are now moving into western Ukraine, creating uncertainty for those still living there.
“Now, in Ukraine, we don’t have a safe place. I live in the west part of Ukraine, a more safe place, but just last month approximately 60 kilometres near my house, a rocket killed a child. Eight years old,” Atamnoik said.
Even with tensions escalating between the two countries, the delegation said it’s important to help bring in medical and educational supplies.
This delegation, made up of former Langford fire chief Bob Beckett, retired RCMP Staff Sergeant Bruce Brown and volunteer videographer Brendan Strain, will be flying to western Ukraine this fall for the third time.
“The need is increasing. The demand for medical equipment, helping students, it doesn’t stop,” Beckett said.
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The team will deliver 14 pallets of medical supplies to hospitals across the western region, 15 laptops to rural hospitals to access crucial medical information and an orthopedic drill set for the children’s hospital.
They will also bring 500 electronic notebooks for students forced to do distance learning classes.
“They can’t go to school if the school doesn’t have a basement that can be converted to a bomb shelter. If they don’t have a bomb shelter, they have to stay at home,” Beckett explained.
Communities across Vancouver Island are supporting the delegation’s efforts.
The city of Colwood raised enough money to buy a large school bus to transfer some students from schools without bomb shelters to ones that do.
A woman from Duncan also donated dozens of backpacks full of school supplies and comfort items for the Hope Foundation Ukraine displaced family center in Poland.
Brown said the woman labelled them all with various age groups “so we can give the appropriate backpacks to the children.”
School District 62 and Bamfield Marine Sciences Center will also host four grade 11 students from Ukraine in Sooke for three weeks in spring 2024.
Beckett said this may seem like a lot of help, but it’s just a drop in the bucket of what’s needed.
“It’s a drop, but it’s a very important drop,” Atamnoik said. “All the world gives a drop to drop of support to Ukraine matters.”
The delegation hopes to also raise another $50,000 before it leaves.
This will purchase more medical supplies for GlobalMedic and Ukraine Medicine in Action.
Donations can be made on the team’s GoFundMe page or dropped off at the Langford Fire Hall.