Local team delivering aid to Ukraine raises £70,000
A team of six Gibraltarians will travel across Europe to deliver crucial medical supplies to Ukraine later this month, but with just over two weeks to go, they are still short of their £90,000 fundraising target.
Ernest Danino, Brian Brooks, Alland Hernandez, Steven Mifsud, Andrew Smith and Sean Robba have so far raised £70,000 and they estimate another £20,000 is needed to secure all the medical supplies Red Cross Odessa requested in their wish list.
The team will set off on May 23, in a 4000km journey to Isaccea, in Romania, which borders Ukraine.
They will be split between the two vehicles, three in each and the plan is to take turns driving.
It is estimated the drive will take them between three and a half to four days, driving 14 hours a day until they reach Isaccea.
Once they arrive close to the Ukraine border, the drop off of supplies will be brief and they will make the 4000km trip back to Gibraltar.
Mr Danino told the Chronicle the team is grateful to have received large donations from local companies, with Monique’s restaurant donating the proceeds of their special “Chicken Kyiv” dish and Genvieve Pons crocheting a Ukrainian doll that was raffled off.
Mr Danino said most of the donations have come from Gibraltar's business community, with two local companies making up half of the money donated.
The team liaised with the Ukrainian Red Cross in Odessa, and the long wish list was whittled down to the necessary, which came to £90,000 worth of pharmaceuticals needed.
Currently the team is working on purchasing and ordering the medical supplies, and if they do not reach the £90,000 target they will look at cheaper suppliers.
"We've also bought battlefield and combat medical supplies, including tourniquets, battlefield first aid dressings, and sucking chest wound patches, and so on," Mr Danino said.
"Odessa, as we know, hasn't been fully invaded but we know it's suffered a few attacks, and it's always in the news that it is a possible place that might be attacked."
"They also deliver to the other parts of Ukraine as it's a nice entry point from the Romanian side."
The journey is also a logistical challenge as the team need to load their vehicles with the supplies and then cross borders.
"The good thing is we're not leaving the EU," Mr Danino said.
"We're buying hopefully from a local supplier, but we're also buying the supplies in Spain which is in the EU, where we have paid EU taxes.”
“We will be getting letters and authority, and we will be bringing the invoices with everything itemised, including the duty paid, the VAT or IVA paid on them."
"We will be getting a letter from Ukraine, Odessa region Red Cross, giving an itemised list of what we're carrying and a letter confirming that we are delivering to them."
"Hopefully we shouldn't have any problem because it is all EU, but we envisage being stopped by the police."
The team will be travelling across Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, and lastly Romania.
Mr Danino described how Red Cross Ukraine have set up a humanitarian aid warehouse in Isaccea, which is a short crossing down the Danube river to Odessa.
"If the Russians do invade Odessa, the warehouse is in Romania so it wouldn't be taken over," Mr Danino said.
The aid will then be distributed throughout the Odessa region by the Red Cross.
Mr Danino is a Civil Contingencies Officer and, through his work aiding Ukrainians and Gibraltarians in Ukraine, he decided to go one step further to launch a charitable campaign.
The decision was made in discussion with his colleague in Civil Contingencies, Brian Brooks, and the Gibraltar Red Cross then put the team in contact with the Ukraine Red Cross.
Mr Danino thanked local pharmacies and businesses who have aided them during this appeal, as well as St John’s Gibraltar who have donated first aid kits, Heart Starterz Gibraltar, and the GHA midwives who donated some maternity packs.
Those wishing to support the appeal, can transfer the funds via bank transfer, details below:
A/c Name: UKRAINE CRISIS APPEAL
A/c No: 20010638
Sort Code: 608314
Swift Code: GIBKGIGI
Further information can be obtained by contacting:
Brian Brooks on 20049522 / 54056057
Ernest Danino on 20049523 / 54010919