Our fellow Janine von Wolfersdorff started the initiative EvacuAid Kyiv in cooperation with the Csilla von Boeselager Stiftung Osteuropahilfe. The goal is to help Ukrainian refugees who would not be able to flee the war-torn country, focusing on the areas of Kyiv and Mariupol, organizing busses to bring food and medical equipment into the conflict area and transport women and children, some of them handicapped, mainly to Germany and Austria where they find shelter or get medical treatment. Currently she is again on her way to Kyiv. You can support this work by donating to: Csilla von Boeselager Stiftung Osteuropahilfe, Sparkasse Arnsberg-Sundern, IBAN: DE41 4665 0005 0000 0333 32, EvacuAid Kyiv; and writing to EvacuAid@boeselager-osteuropahilfe.de to offer free initial accommodation places in municipalities.
“Departure Wednesday 4:00 possible, if we have solved the canister problem by then, that is unfortunately very critical!!!" said Ludwig, the bus operator. "My people are already phoning all the suppliers, but we can't find 70 canisters in Vienna within hours".
"Janine, unfortunately we don't have any painkillers in stock at the moment, and also the disinfectant we have in stock is only suitable for Covid19".
"Do you still remember to send us the details of the doctor who countersigns the painkillers for the city of Kyiv for the export papers?"
"Do you seriously want noodles for Kyiv and oatmeal?! Not canned soup? We don't have nappies. I need a list from you within 30 minutes of exactly what food you need and who will be here to pick it up by 3pm tomorrow."
And I did not reach Michel - the friend I had asked to call birth centers, rehabilitation centers and hospitals in Kyiv to ask about injured, autistic or disabled children and pregnant women in Kyiv who would not or barely manage to flee the city and get to safety by themselves.
On March 10, in Kyiv, we delivered three coaches full of medicine and food in the morning and we started our first "boarding": 166 women and children.
It was Monday evening, 8 March.
It all started the Friday before, 4 March. I called a friend to ask him for help with the escape logistics of West Ukrainian families from the Hungarian border.
Just a few days before, I had made an insane effort to help just one family find a new home on a sustainable pony farm in Fleckeby. Her name was Natascha. She came from Transcarpathia with two little girls. In our perfect “logistics chain” - two Hungarian student friends picked her up on time at the Hungarian border, brought her to the Budapest-Vienna train, where she was to be picked up around midnight by another friend, to travel by train to Berlin the next morning, and then on to the pony farm in northern Germany - there were unmanageable gaps.
Natasha did not get off the train in Vienna, but hours later in early morning in Salzburg; I called the police - and we finally found her at the Freilassing police station, where she was supposed to wait until she was picked up individually by friends of a trade union network. But Natasha instead went with the flow of all the people to the station in Freilassing. Another refugee, whom she had asked for help in communicating with us, finally held her so that we could talk to her. She was extremely restless, afraid. However, we finally managed to bring her to the pony farm in Fleckeby. After these days I was happy everything went well at the end, but I also thought: with the same effort I could probably have saved hundreds of people.