As a result of the Russian terrorist attack, Ukraine has experienced the most severe environmental and humanitarian disaster in decades. On Tuesday, 6 June, at 02:50 a.m., the Russian army blasted the Nova Kakhovka Dam in Kherson region. The water flooded and destroyed many villages and towns located in the lower sections of the Dnipro River. On an emergency basis, we launched a dedicated fundraising campaign and rushed to the flooded areas with a group of volunteers.
On 6 June 2023, we received a letter from local volunteers cooperating with the Kherson authorities, asking for urgent help.
Thanks to the quickly raised emergency fund money, and the support provided by the Capital City of Warsaw, we prepared a convoy to Kherson, which was supervised by our colleague Marcin Mycielski. This convoy consisted of three vans loaded to the brim, a passenger car and a big trailer. Our mission included eight people representing three different organisations i.e. ODF, Fundacja Spełnić Marzenie and Fundacja Aniołów Miłosierdzia and a journalist, Zbigniew Parafianowicz (Dziennik Gazeta Prawna). Together, we transported 50 m³ of humanitarian aid worth ca. PLN 250,000 to southern Ukraine. We used the funds raised to buy:
- Two Honda SST 80 HX motor pumps with hoses
- 1,500 packs of water treatment tablets of 20 pieces each
- Marine life raft
for a total amount of PLN 30 441.50
Moreover, in response to our appeal, we received from donors, among others:
- 3 pallets of disinfectants from Medilab
- 147 life jackets
- 6 pairs of waders
- Lifebuoy and wellingtons
- 25 cartons (i.e. 150 kg) of hygiene products and clothes
- 300 kg of food
- equipment for the disabled, fold-up beds
- ca. 30 tourniquets from Sygnis SA
The mission’s partner became the Capital City of Warsaw, which funded the following goods:
- 5 Honda WT30XT motor pumps with hoses
- 1 portable power pack GR 12000
- 2 portable power packs GR 6500
- 10 portable LED floodlights ACCO 30W
- 14 portable LED floodlights ACCO 20W
- 244 rechargeable torches CREE LED Ultibright 90, 1200 lm
- 244 rechargeable torches CREE LED Ultibright 80, 600 lm
The mission participants paid a visit to the headquarters of the civil-military administration, where they met representatives of the local authorities i.e. the governor of the Kherson region, Oleksandr Prokudin, and the Mayor of Kherson, Roman Mrochka. They were also given a tour around the flood-damaged areas and unloaded the rescue equipment. There was also a press conference, which was also attended by a Kherson deputy to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Viktoriya Vahnier.
According to the representatives of the local government of Kherson, it was the first humanitarian aid convoy from Poland to arrive in the town after the Nova Kakhovka Dam was blown up. The scale of the destruction in the town of Antonivka, which our volunteers also visited, was just indescribable. “Antonivka is highly visible to the Russians, being only 2 km from their military positions, so it is under constant fire. It is now a deserted town; there is not a living soul on the streets. Most buildings have been damaged by bullets, or bombs. Only hidden Ukrainian military units are located there” – recalls Marcin Mycielski in his interview with OKO.press.
The aid has also reached a municipal hospital in Kherson – we have provided them with disinfectants and equipment for the disabled. On the way back, in Odessa we handed over the tourniquets to a marine infantry unit. Several bulletproof vests have been distributed among the soldiers stationed in Kamianets-Podilskyi.
“We have discussed our future cooperation with the local authorities of Kherson. In the coming weeks, they are planning to reconstruct and reequip the flooded houses. They need building materials – but transporting such goods from Poland would be too complicated. That is why we will focus on transporting household appliances instead. The Vice Mayor of the City of Warsaw has agreed to organise the collection of necessary equipment in the city. Anyone who has any redundant equipment, and could share it can donate it to the Open Dialogue Foundation. We will take it to Kherson.” – Mycielski told an OKO.press journalist.
Our aid mission wouldn’t have been possible without you, our donors, both those who supported our fundraiser at http://zrzutka.pl/Dniepr, and those who donated specific gifts. We would also like to express our gratitude to Fundacja Spełnić Marzenie represented by Maria Ivaniuk and Uliana Flyshko, Fundacja Aniołów Miłosierdzia, Tomasz Bratek of the Capital City of Warsaw, Denys Shevchuk and ODF voluntary workers, who risked their lives when delivering aid: Katarzyna Michaliszyn, Robert Terela, Tomasz Idzikowski and Korneliusz Wieteska.
Our fundraising campaign intended to deliver aid to the Kherson region is still in progress. Currently, we are preparing for our next trip. The Kherson region still awaits our support.
- Summary of the ODF and Gazeta Wyborcza joint mission to Ukraine (17.11.2022)
- Summary of the humanitarian mission to Lviv and Drohobych in October 2022 (28.10.2022)
- Summary of #OppositionForUkraine humanitarian aid mission to Bakhmut (31.01.2023)
- Summary of the humanitarian mission to the Avdiivka region, 27 April-3 May 2023 (24.05.2023)
Media on our humanitarian mission:
- OKO.Press: The Flood Unleashed After the Attack on Nova Kakhovka. Polish Humanitarian Mission Reached the Flooded Areas. ‘It’s been a shock’ (23.06.2023)
- Dziennik Gazeta Prawna: Four plagues of Kherson. Treachery, occupation, shelling, flood [A story about the divided city] (23.06.2023)
- CrowdMedia: The Open Dialogue Foundation and Rafał Trzaskowski were awarded in Ukraine. “For the only such support” (22.06.2023)