The convoy carried pumps, power generators, rafts, jacket vests, headlamps. “And
water purification tablets so that the residents can drink water,” Martin Mycielski of
the Open Dialogue Foundation told OKO.press. The Warsaw Municipal Council,
including the Law and Justice (PiS) club, has unanimously donated PLN 100 000 for
equipment for Kherson.
THE FIRST Polish humanitarian mission left for Kherson after an attack on the Nova
Kakhovka dam. At 02:50 in the morning on Tuesday, 6 June, the Russian army blew
up the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant in Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region
of southern Ukraine. Water flooded villages along the lower course of the Dnipro on
both sides of the river.
The convoy of three vans and one car with a trailer set off for Ukraine on Friday,
16 June 2023. Eight people, of which five from the Open Dialogue Foundation, two
from the Ukrainian ‘Fulfil the Dream’ Charity Foundation and one from the ‘Angels of
Mercy’ Charity Foundation, transported 50 cubic meters of aid.
The following has been transported to Kherson:
● Seven slurry motor pumps to pump out water from flooded basements;
● Three power generators, i.e., generators that are a stand-alone power source;
● LED mobile lighting, i.e., the so-called ‘headlamps’;
● 30 thousands of water treatment tablets;
● Approximately 150 jacket vests, life raft, waders (waterproof footwear);
● Three pallets of disinfectants, cleaning products, cosmetics and food.
‘A single pump per hundreds of flooded houses’
“This is an emergency equipment and products that will help the inhabitants in the
flooded areas to get back to life. Water treatment tablets are essential. Kherson
residents can drop such a tablet into a glass of contaminated water, treat it and drink.
There is a shortage of water, just as there is a shortage of electricity and light,” Martin
Mycielski of the Open Dialogue Foundation told OKO.press. “After the attack on Nova
Kakhovka, we were the first to arrive with aid from the West. City authorities did not
have the basic equipment to rescue people”.
“The military and civilian administration from Kherson asked us for help one day after
the attack on Nova Kakhovka. They contacted us thanks to the Ukrainian ‘Fulfil the
Dream’ Foundation and sent us a list of needed items. We set up a fundraiser and
raised some PLN 30 000 in a week. Then we started looking for donors and contacted
Mr. Tomasz Bratek, the Vice-President of Warsaw. The City of Warsaw immediately
offered to help. At first we wanted to buy the rescue equipment from the emergency
services, but this proved to be too complicated. So we bought new equipment using
municipal funds,” said Mycielski.
The Warsaw Municipal Council was unanimous
On Thursday 22 June 2023, the Warsaw Municipal Council unanimously voted for a
donation of PLN 100 000 to buy the equipment needed in Kherson. The remaining
amounts have been raised from contributions made by good-hearted people. In total,
the funds raised reached PLN 250 000.
The Open Dialogue Foundation delivered the equipment to Ukraine earlier. “The
vendor just gave the equipment to us on a promise of payment in view of the
circumstances and the track record of our cooperation,” said Martin Mycielski.
“We thought we were going there with aid of symbolic significance. It turned out that
the Ukrainians had no basic equipment. We saw one working pump for hundreds of
flooded houses, one pontoon. It was a shock. We handed over the equipment to the
military and civil administration. The humanitarian aid was delivered to the Kherson
city hospital, where it will be distributed to the city’s residents. The Ukrainians were
delighted and grateful”.
Kherson is a target of Russian attacks
Oleksandr Prokudin, the governor of the Kherson region, and Roman Mrochko, the
mayor of Kherson, personally received the delegation from Poland (in addition to
people from the Foundation, the delegation also included Katarzyna Bardyszewska,
a representative of the Municipal Office of Warsaw, and representatives of the Ukrainian ‘Fulfil the Dream’ Foundation), accompanied by Viktoria Vahnier, deputy of
the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
“The centre of Kherson is the target of rocket attacks. Anti-aircraft alarms are going
off several times a day, and Ukrainians are constantly shooting down drones and
rockets headed towards the city. The city is deserted, with some 50 000 inhabitants
left; previously it used to be a home for 350 000 people. The elderly who have nowhere
else to go or do not want to leave their homes, the extremely poor, and those who are
indifferent as to whether they will live under the Russian occupation are left behind.
There is only a single restaurant left open in Kherson and volunteers and journalists
gather there,” says Mycielski.
“Two days before our arrival, a Russians ballistic missile hit the municipal hall building.
The building is cut all the way through, there is now a huge hole in it. None of the
administration staff were killed because they all work in a shelter. That’s where we
went to meet them”.
Ukraine’s military and civil administration authorities took those who arrived with the
aid to see the flooded areas of Kherson.
“Roofs have been moved sideways, streets are covered with mud and silt. Residents
are trying to save their homes, clean up cars, furniture, hang things above the water. In
one of Kherson’s districts, 90 per cent of the houses are to be demolished because
they are beyond repair. This is the biggest tragedy in the city,” says Mycielski.
Antonivka destroyed completely
The village of Antonivka in the Kherson region has been completely destroyed.
“Antonivka is in sight of the Russians, 2 km from their positions and remains under a
constant fire. The village is deserted, there is no one on the streets. The buildings
have been shot at, bombed out. Only hidden Ukrainian military units have been left
The convoy returned to Poland on the night from Tuesday, 20 June, to Wednesday,
21 June 2023.
“We have arranged further cooperation with Kherson’s administration. In the following
weeks they will be rebuilding the flooded houses and will make an attempt to equip
them. They need construction materials but it is too complicated to transport them
from Poland. Therefore, we will be delivering household appliances. The Vice-
President of Warsaw has already agreed to conduct a Warsaw-wide collection of
appliances. Those who have redundant equipment and want to get rid of it can donate
it to the Open Dialogue Foundation and we will transport it to Kherson,” says
Viktoria Vahnier, deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, wanted to personally thank for the aid. She awarded President Trzaskowski, Vice-President Tomasz Bratek and Vice-President of the Open Dialogue Foundation Martin Mycielski with the Ukrainian ‘Unity and Will’ medal. On 22 June 2022, Martin Mycielski conveyed them to the President and Vice-President of Warsaw.
The Open Dialogue Foundation continues to raise funds at zrzutka.pl/Dniepr and
donations for Kherson (contact: [email protected]). The next mission will
set off as soon as another batch of donations is collected.