Who today evacuates people from the occupation and returns children abducted by the Rashists to Ukraine
According to the Ministry of Regional Development, there are about 7 million internally displaced persons in Ukraine. Since the beginning of the full-scale war, more than 100,000 people have been evacuated directly from hot spots, de-occupied and temporarily occupied territories.
Help People is one of the most powerful public organizations that, since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, has evacuated more than 20,000 people, including almost 3,000 children, rescued about a thousand pets and distributed more than 1,200 tons of humanitarian aid.
Currently, the organization’s team is also engaged in the return of illegally deported children from Russia. Read about how to create an effective organization to save people in the article for Epravda.com.ua.
From auto business to volunteering
Even in the first days of the full-scale invasion, several entrepreneurs united to help those who wanted to leave to safer places.
The first groups of people were evacuated in February 2022. Activists used their own transport to transport residents of Kyiv region, Chernihiv region, and Kharkiv region to the West of the country, where active hostilities were taking place at the time.
Later, the NGO team took people from other regions as well – Kherson Oblast, Zaporizhzhia, Donbass, Crimea, etc. They were helped by caring people who donated fuel and the purchase of food, medicine and basic necessities.
“Before the full-scale war, I was engaged in the business of delivering cars from abroad, yachting as part of the YBC Entrepreneurs’ Club.
There were a lot of cars on the car lots of the Importcars company – own and client cars. And already in the first days of the offensive, a decision was made to involve them in evacuating people.
And I gave my own apartment in the village of Gatne, near Kyiv, as a temporary shelter for those who were waiting to leave the capital via the only safe route at that time – the Odesa highway.
Yes, during the first week of the invasion, we managed to evacuate hundreds of residents of hot spots, and during the entire period of activity, this figure reached 20 thousand. And we continue our work every day,” says Oleksiy Voronin, head of the Help People public organization.
Gradually, the work of the team was systematized and adjusted – they built a clear operational activity, bought evacuation buses, selected permanent staff, including drivers who regularly drive to dangerous areas.
In addition, an evacuation and logistics center with a service station, a gas station, a warehouse for humanitarian aid and temporary accommodation for IDPs and employees was built in Dnipro.
It was possible to do this because Help People immediately united professionals from various system businesses and used their experience in the field of evacuation, logistics, humanitarian aid, resettlement and construction.
Today, almost 50 people work in the NGO team. These are drivers of evacuation and humanitarian flights, call center workers, service station mechanics, organizational managers and logisticians.
Evacuation under fire and Russian captivity
Evacuation is always a dangerous process. Volunteers risk freedom, health and life every time. During hundreds of evacuation flights, they repeatedly got into critical situations. So, when the first “green corridor” from occupied Mariupol was opened in April 2022, a group of 10 drivers went there to collect people.
The path was extremely difficult, passing through dozens of checkpoints. Then nine volunteer drivers were detained by the Russian military and captured.
Among them are four representatives of Help People. All the cars were confiscated, and after “interrogation” the volunteers were forced to dig their own graves. Later, they were sent to prison, where they were held for more than 100 days.
“Prisoners were in terrible conditions – there were 25-30 men in a 3×4 m cell. From food, everyone was given one loaf of bread per day and 5 liters of water with impurities. That is, in the morning the prisoners received this bottle to urinate, and later brought it drinking water…
The NGO team made incredible efforts to help free people and rehabilitate them,” recalls Oleksiy Voronin.
Another tragic incident is when, on September 30, the Russians fired at a civilian humanitarian convoy on the way out of Zaporizhzhia to Vasylivka, where there was a bus and a Help People car. Then an enemy missile took the lives of eight passengers of the GO.
Also, one of the drivers – British volunteer Dave Young – during the flight in the direction of Bakhmut came under enemy fire and lost an eye. His partner Volodymyr received a shrapnel wound in his arm.
Despite everything, the evacuation carried out by the NGO is the safest and most reliable. Help People notes that they follow all safety rules, including choosing the best routes and having elements of protection for civilians.
Helpers need help
Today, Help People evacuates 150-350 people every week. Funds are needed to permanently save as many people as possible. On average, the cost of evacuating one person from controlled regions is about $35.
If you need to evacuate those willing from the occupied territories, then here the price of evacuating one person is from $224. At the same time, in order to return the child who was illegally deported to Russia, more than $3 thousand will have to be raised.
We will remind that, according to the report of the Verkhovna Rada’s human rights commissioner Dmytro Lubinets, the number of officially verified Ukrainians on the territory of the Russian Federation is almost 20,000.
In total, during the activity of Help People, it was possible to collect almost $1.5 million, of which about $210 was used for the purchase of evacuation vehicles. For uninterrupted work, a non-profit organization constantly needs financial income.
In connection with this, he attracts benefactors from Ukraine and abroad to cooperate. Today, most of the costs are covered by grants from international funds of the USA, Switzerland, Germany and private donors.
In particular, private philanthropists from the USA. During the work of the Help People NGO, they established cooperation with several international funds, including Nova Ukraine, Libereco, Vehicles of Light, USAID, etc.
Now the team is preparing to liberate the occupied areas and work in these territories to provide humanitarian aid and evacuation.
You can sign up for a free evacuation in two ways:
● call the hotline: 093 69 69 788
● register by filling out an application on the NGO website