Direct Relief sends medical aid; ShelterBox to send team
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has prompted two local nonprofits to send aid or people to Europe.
Direct Relief has sent its first shipment of medical aid to Ukraine since the invasion, Tony Morain, the Goleta-based nonprofit’s vice president of communications, told the News-Press on Tuesday.
“The first shipment should arrive in Poland by the end of the week, then brought over into Ukraine by the Ukranian Ministry of Health,” Mr. Morain said.
The ministry sent Direct Relief a comprehensive list of needed medications, which the nonprofit assembled.
The requested items varied from blood pressure support to intubation/ventilation, IV antibiotics, fluids, Mr. Morain said. He added that Direct Relief has received requests for combat application tourniquets and bandages.
The health ministry also asked Direct Relief for at least 500 medical outreach packs, and Mr. Morain said needs vary from tranexamic acid, used to control severe bleeding, to oxygen supplies.
Certainly Direct Relief is sending a lot of aid to Ukraine.
“Everyone here feels this is an achievement, but it’s not enough,” Mr. Morain said. “That feeling drives us to continue to do more.”
On Tuesday, Santa Barbara-based ShelterBox USA told the News-Press that it was sending a team to Eastern Europe to assess needs and see if its aid would be suitable.
“ShelterBox is deploying a response team to the region to begin assessing the humanitarian needs related to the displacement crisis in Ukraine, including the emergency shelter needs for refugees,” ShelterBox USA President Kerri Murray said in a statement. “The team from ShelterBox includes highly-trained security, safety, and logistics personnel, who will coordinate with other humanitarian agencies to understand the gaps in emergency shelter and what are the urgently needed household aid items that will be needed over the weeks and months to come.”
The United Nations estimated that as many as 12 million people may need humanitarian help. The U.N. expects 6.7 million to be internally displaced and up to 4 million refugees fleeing from the country.
So far, more than 660,000 have reportedly fled Ukraine in freezing temperatures to neighboring countries, ShelterBox noted.
“ShelterBox routinely responds to conflict-related displacement, providing families with a range of items, including emergency tents and tarpaulins, heavy blankets, sleeping mats, water filters, solar lights, kitchen sets, tools, and more,” Ms. Murray said. “We customize our humanitarian aid packages to meet the unique needs of the displacement. We are working to understand where and how we can make the biggest difference in this rapidly-evolving crisis.”
ShelterBox is coordinating with local authorities, Rotary International and other aid organizations.
In other developments Tuesday:
— The Associated Press reported an escalation Tuesday by Russian forces as they attacked urban areas. Russia bombarded Kharkiv’s central square and Kyiv’s main TV tower.
— A missile hit a private maternity clinic near Kyiv. Everyone was evacuated, and while damaged, the building remains standing.
— A missile attack came close to the Babyn Yar memorial in Kyiv. The memorial is dedicated to Holocaust victims.
Moshe Reuven Azman, the chief rabbi in Ukraine, said three missiles hit the area and condemned the attacks. On his Facebook page, he called them “war crimes.”
— A senior Ukrainian official said on Ukrainian TV on Tuesday that intel from Russian security forces sympathetic to Ukraine helped to “neutralize” two Chechen death squads sent to kill Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The information came from inside the Russian FSB, said Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.
President Zelensky has declined offers from the West to be evacuated as he stays in Kyiv and leads his country in its determined resistance to the Russians.