The supply situation in Ukraine remains critical in many parts of the country. More than five million Ukrainians have already fled the country. As part of an aid campaign launched by Hapag-Lloyd colleagues in Belgium via social media, 30 tons of reliefs have already been brought to Ukraine until today. Nadiya Linda, Senior Coordinator, Business Development Area Benelux, is the one who is organizing the campaign. Today she gives us an update and sends us impressions of the third delivery of relief goods.
Nadiya, this is the third relief delivery your team has brought to Ukraine. Where exactly do the items go and how are they distributed?
All the goods we sent were received by my uncle and our volunteers in Kalush in Western Ukraine. Now they are being distributed from Kalush to Chernihiv. Next week to Dnipro. We also plan to send more goods to Kharkiv. All supplies will be distributed carefully, not too much at once. This way we will still have something to give in a few weeks when it might be needed even more.
No one in Ukraine has the certainty that tomorrow will be better, so we have to be more practical and think things through.
The last few weeks must have been crazy. We already know that you are very committed to the Ukrainian refugees and have already brought some relief supplies to Ukraine. What are the biggest challenges you are facing right now?
The biggest difficulty, in my opinion, is leaving the EU border (in our case Poland). All goods must be checked, all documents must be correct down to the smallest detail and indicate the correct weight of humanitarian aid.
For example, our driver had to wait 3 hours just because the amount of rice was not correctly stated. It's nothing illegal and everything can be solved, but you lose a lot of time. When entering Ukraine, you don't have such inconveniences. It is only checked whether all goods are legal and really serve humanitarian purposes.
Unfortunately, there are not many vehicles with humanitarian cargo at the border at the moment. Our driver with medical goods made his first trip in March. His second trip was at the beginning of June. On his trip he noticed a big difference in the amount of people that are bringing reliefs to Ukraine. While the first time he had to queue 15 km before the border, now there were 3 to 4 vehicles in front of him. So, it is really noticeable that humanitarian aid is unfortunately decreasing.
Do you feel that people's interest in supporting Ukraine has waned?
To be honest, yes. The help needed is still great. Sure, we all have to get on with our lives, but we must not forget that there is still war in Ukraine. Be aware of this and pass on verified information.
Ukraine is still in a very difficult situation, innocent people are still dying, eastern Ukraine is pure hell at the moment. In the occupied territories, we don't even have a clue what is going on. A counterattack is planned for July to August, they say. So, probably the worst is yet to come.
What do you think is the best way to help?
Now, it is hard to say. On the one hand, you can help with financial support. Here, you should make sure to only engage with trustworthy volunteer organisations. In recent weeks, volunteer work in Ukraine has been optimised. It is now better organised, and the logistical supply is smoother. Contacts have been made for various cooperation’s and this has advantages especially for our deliveries.
The volunteers in Ukraine know best the needs of the people in the affected areas. For our part, we work with the information they give us. Collaborations like these have proven to be the most successful and provide the most appropriate assistance to people in need.
On the other hand, it is always helpful to donate goods. Special attention should be paid to what kind of goods are needed now. This makes the Ukrainians feel better because they don't have to go shopping and bring the goods to the collection point. Donating goods are helping more than a money transfer in the end, but all help is needed!
What is the next step for your initiative?
We are running our humanitarian initiative temporarily until August. Then we want to see what needs the Ukrainians have and of course continue to help them.
My appeal to everybody: If you have any more goods to donate, please help. Any help is needed!
First impressions of the third delivery of about 18 tons of relief goods in Ukraine by colleagues from Hapag-Lloyd Belgium