Skip to main content

Vancouver Island humanitarian group to return to Ukraine this fall

The war in Ukraine has been raging on now for more than 500 days, displacing millions of people from the country and killing tens of thousands of military personnel and civilians alike.

“We don’t have a safe place,” said Oleg Atamnoik, a Ukrainian surgeon.

Atamnoik is on Vancouver Island visiting with his family that fled the war-torn country when Russia first invaded.

He says the situation in his home country is getting more desperate by the day.

“We have approximately 40 to 50 rockets every day,” said the Ukrainian doctor. Hitting not only military targets but civilian ones as well.

The hospital system in Ukraine is overwhelmed by the injured.

“We recognize that the need is increasing,” said Bob Beckett, a retired Langford fire chief.

That is why a humanitarian team from the West Shore will be returning to Ukraine later this fall. This time with a list of much-needed aid, identified through partnerships created in that country on past missions.

“Everything that is being asked for, we’re doing our best to provide that,” said Beckett.

Already purchased or gathered are 14 pallets of medical supplies, with 500 used electronic notebooks for students who can’t attend school because their building does not have a bomb shelter, as well as a used school bus, purchased in Poland for a community needing to transport children to a neighbouring town where the school there has a bomb shelter.

“We are looking forward to hosting four students at Edward Milne Community School in the near future,” said Amanda Dowhy, chair of the Sooke School Board.

The team will also meet with four Grade 11 students that will travel to Canada in the spring of 2024. They will be hosted by the Sooke School District and the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre.

“Just this last week we got a request from Ukraine Medicine In Action,” said Beckett. That is a group in Ukraine that will receive and distribute that much-needed medical aid.

“It represents about a $50,000 shopping list of urgently required medical equipment,” said Beckett.

The group is hoping to hit that financial target before the upcoming trip through a GoFundMe or by financial donations dropped off at the Langford fire hall at 2625 Peatt Road.

Medical supplies that will be taken to Ukraine by the humanitarian team on the its next deployment later this fall. (CTV News)

“We hope that there will be a peaceful resolution eventually when Russia’s war of aggression ends and hopefully Ukraine wins,” said Colwood Coun. Ian Ward. “Hopefully we’ll be in the position to build some relationships between our communities.”

Colwood council is currently exploring the possibility of developing a sister city relationship with one of the communities in Ukraine that the group will be travelling to this fall.

“We really want to provide that moral support and that in-kind support and just find ways to strengthen ties,” said Ward. Top Stories

CBC says it is cutting 600 jobs, some programming as it slashes budget

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Radio-Canada will eliminate about 600 jobs and not fill an additional 200 vacancies. The cuts at CBC come days after the Liberal government suggested it may cap the amount of money CBC and Radio-Canada could get under a $100 million deal Ottawa recently signed with Google.

Stay Connected