Aid trips to Ukraine are still ongoing

Posted on 15th February 2023 | in Community

It may have slipped down the UK news running order, but aid is still desperately needed in Ukraine. Mariusz Biziewski who lives in Blyth is planning his seventh aid trip to some of the most war-torn parts of Ukraine, and is asking for donations of items to help families there during the winter.

A little boy in Kherson receiving chocolate from the aid team. Photo Mariusz Biziewski

Mariusz told The Ambler that people from the Polish community are still collecting and fundraising, but if anyone would like to donate specific items, he can take them on his next trip, which he is planning to make at the end of February.

“For Polish people, we see that the Ukrainians need our help, they are our neighbours. Russia has always been an aggressor, so we want to help. Me and my friend now drive the goods to Ukraine. Others collect money. We do what we can.”

The team delivered Christmas gifts to children, as well as aid. Photo Mariusz Biziewski

Mariusz is no stranger to conflict, he is an ex bomb disposal expert with the UN. He described the devastation he had seen in some of his aid trips. “In big places, things are fine, but in the small places, they have nothing. Sirens, alarms, and bombs – 31 December was one of the worst days of the war. Buildings were completely destroyed. These were residential, nothing to do with military.”

The aid group are asking specifically for first aid and medicines, canned food with a long shelf life, toiletries and warm or thermal clothes. Generators are also desperately needed. It will still be winter in Ukraine until the end of March.

It takes the drivers aound 72 hours to get from Blyth to the Ukrainian border – after that, it can be another 14 or 15 hours travelling, depending on the conditions.

The aid van next to a shell at the edge of the road. Photo Mariusz Biziewski

The dangers to the aid workers are high, but it is seeing the atrocities and appalling conditions of the innocent families caught up in the war, which keeps people like Mariusz returning to help. Of course, the desire to help has personal consequences. Not only do the aid trips cause stress to their own families, but Mariusz and his friend even lost their jobs.

Mariusz has been to several of the worst affected towns, like Kharkiv, Kherson and Bucha where the massacre occured. He saw first hand the abject despair on the face of a father whose entire family had been killed.

Why does he continue to go?
“I don’t know why I’m doing this, but the people need help. My friend and I lost our jobs, we tried to go back to normal, but we couldn’t. If I can keep helping, I will.”
You can contact Mariusz on: 07907450897

Anna Williams

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