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Victoria humanitarian group short of fundraising goal before returning to Ukraine

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A Greater Victoria group is preparing to return to Ukraine on another humanitarian mission in the coming month, to once again help the people of that war-torn country.

“We can and will make a difference on this trip,” said Bob Beckett, retired Langford fire chief and humanitarian.

This will be the team's thirds trip providing food, firefighting and rescue equipment, as well as much-needed medical aid.

“Everything that we are attempting to provide are specific requests from our friends and colleagues in Ukraine,” said Beckett.

Throughout the country, the Ukrainian hospital system is being overwhelmed by the injured. Currently on route to the country are 16 pallets of medical aid that was purchased by the group through its fundraising efforts.

“It’s a terrible situation,” said Oleg Atamanyuk, a Ukrainian surgeon.

Atamauyuk says every day more injured soldiers and civilians are brought to his hospital for life-saving medical treatment.

“Unfortunately we don’t have enough equipment, we don’t have enough medicine. But for now, we just keep working,” said the surgeon.

The team has a goal of raising an additional $50,000 before its departure to the battered country. That money will be used to purchase more medical equipment for the hospital system.

“Our funding has all but dried up and we’re $20,000 short,” said Beckett.

The team says the Israel-Hamas war shows just how much humanitarian aid is needed in these conflicts and with economic struggle here at home, it appears donor fatigue has begun to set in.

That is not to say the team hasn’t already met many of its goals.

“One of the communities said we need a school bus in order to get the kids from schools that don’t have a bomb shelter to schools that do have a bomb shelter,” said Beckett.

That bus has now been purchased in Poland and will make its way to Ukraine soon.

Another community has requested two diesel-powered generators so that students can attend school during the country's rolling blackouts.

“I mean it’s a war-torn country and they need a lot of help,” said Keven Murdoch, the mayor of Oak Bay.

For that need, the team has found an ally in Murdoch and Oak Bay High School.

“We’re going to jointly look at doing some fundraising to raise money for generators for high schools in Ukraine,” said Murdoch.

Those generators will cost roughly $20,000 and that fundraising effort is set to begin in the coming weeks.

“Let’s focus on how we can help,” said Beckett.

With the war raging on now for more than 600 days, the team is hoping to reach it’s $50,000 goal so it can purchase that remaining medical aid requested by those life-saving doctors in Ukraine.

To learn more and donate, visit the team's webpage.

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