Helping Hand Rebuilding in Bucha
Economic and military support extended by democratic countries to Ukraine shifted to a higher gear this week. Country leaders, the U.S. secretaries of state and defense, and even the UN Secretary-General visited Kyiv. The U.S. Congress approved the Lend-Lease Act of 2022, which will leverage the American industrial might to support Ukraine’s defense efforts. Forty defense ministers met at the Ramstein air base in Germany to coordinate their support of Ukraine. Heavy weapons from the U.S. started arriving in Ukraine. Canada’s House of Commons recognized Russia’s genocide of the Ukrainian people. President Biden proposed a new $33B Ukraine aid package. Japan is tripling its aid to Ukraine. At the same time, fears mount that Russia’s war may reach past the borders of Ukraine and into Moldova.
Rather than simply trying to save Ukraine’s independence, democratic countries are now helping Ukraine to win the war and remain a viable economy. We at Nova Ukraine are doing our part by helping the people of Ukraine: supporting refugees, funding and shipping medical supplies, delivering food under bombardment, and restoring basic infrastructure. But the damage caused by Russian troops has already been severe, and the road to rebuild will be a long one.
Our Impact To Date
This week we are adding a new and important category to our spending: Infrastructure. This includes generators, building materials, and equipment to start clearing the debris left behind by Russian shelling and to restore essential services to liberated towns.
Our spending to date by category is summarized below:
“Helping Hand” Rescue Crew Arrives in Bucha
When the war started, Sergey was a small business owner in the Chernihiv region, running a wood processing factory. Earlier this year, his factory was completely destroyed by the occupying Russian Army and several of his machines and vehicles were stolen. Sergey and his team evacuated to Kyiv, where they decided to start an emergency rescue crew. With Nova Ukraine as their main financial sponsor, they formed a community coalition called “Helping Hand” which is made up of construction workers and professional search and rescue coordinators.
With Nova Ukraine funds, the group obtained heavy duty equipment and construction materials to begin debris removal and reconstruction efforts in Irpin and surrounding cities, including Bucha and Hostomel. They have also purchased a generator, tools, uniforms, and protective footwear to guard against sharp objects left from shelling.
After intensive training and cooperation with the Ukrainian military, Helping Hand has become the first volunteer group to enter Bucha and Irpin. Following liberation from Russian forces, the military began clearing mines from the streets. The amount of explosives left behind by Russian troops is extreme: In a single day, military technicians cleared over 400kg of explosives from residential areas surrounding Bucha. Our volunteers at Helping Hand remove debris in the cleared areas and continue to alert the military of any additional unexploded ordnance. In addition to this dangerous work, Helping Hand is dedicated to rebuilding efforts, supplying food through field kitchens, and restoring generator power for key community services. In Hostomel, an area of more than 25,000 people, there is no water, electricity or gas, and people cook food on fires in the streets.
Much more work needs to be done to make the community safe and restore running water and electricity. One of the challenges that Helping Hands faces is acquiring heavy equipment, such as hydraulic jacks, heavy cranes, backhoes, bulldozers, and trucks. Many companies refuse to lease this equipment to our partners due to the high risk of damage from explosives, and so the equipment must be purchased or donated from abroad. Nova Ukraine is looking for donations of lumber, construction materials and heavy equipment to ship to our volunteers on the ground. Please contribute to our rebuilding efforts.
Help Ukrainian Refugees Stranded in Mexico
Nova Ukraine has launched a new refugee center to provide free housing and services to Ukrainians waiting in Mexico City to be processed for admission to the United States. Following the launch this past Monday of the Uniting for Ukraine program (which provides a pathway for Ukrainians to come to the United States directly from Europe) border agents are no longer allowing Ukrainian refugees to cross the border on foot at Tijuana. The refugee hub in Tijuana staffed by volunteers now stands empty.
Unfortunately, our work in Mexico is not finished. Many Ukrainians already in Mexico or who had booked tickets before United for Ukraine was announced are now stuck: they have no financial means to return to Europe and no way to enter the United States without first going through the Uniting for Ukraine application process. These refugees are being redirected to Mexico City, where the United States has an embassy, and required to apply via the new program there. The new refugee hub in Mexico City provides free housing and services for Ukrainians waiting for processing. This center is estimated to cost $25,000 a month in operational expenses and needs significant financial support.
Caring for the Elderly and Disabled in Kharkiv
Christian, a nurse with an American VA hospital who went to Ukraine to volunteer, wrote to Nova Ukraine and asked if we could put him in touch with someone in Kharkiv since he wanted to go there and help. We connected him with one of Nova Ukraine’s partners, Through the War (Крiзь Вiйну). Since then, Christian has been helping out at the makeshift assisted living facility set up by the organization and run with the help of grants from Nova Ukraine.
Christian spends a lot of time at that facility and is much loved by the residents there. The facility helps elderly Ukrainians (18 people to date) who are physically challenged and cannot live on their own. Some are blind, diabetic, or wheelchair-bound. Christian and the other nurses help the residents with medical as well as other personal needs, keeping their spirits up despite the active shelling in Kharkiv. Christian provided the video below to show what life in the facility is like.
Delivering supplies to Frontline Cities
Thanks to Nova Ukraine, volunteers from Dnipro were able to buy fuel for vehicles that deliver food, hygiene products, and other basic needs to the residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. These regions are very close to active fighting and have limited access to supplies. Our volunteers provided grocery packs with much-needed provisions to civilians in the area.
Animals Evacuated from Kharkiv
Nova Ukraine helps not only people but displaced animals as well. One of our supported animal welfare groups, Animal Rescue Kharkiv, completes several evacuation missions every week, evacuating an average of 250 animals per week. Shown below is one of their recent evacuations. Cats were taken to safety in Poland and dogs to Romania. The animals are scared and stressed, but were delivered out of danger and into the hands of new adoptive families.
Sadly we receive more requests from animal rescues than we are able to fulfill. Animal rescue is only a small part of Nova Ukraine’s mission and we cannot help more animals without direct funds to this project. Learn more about our animal rescue efforts »