Special delivery to Ukraine – Times
A sports medicine registrar has returned from his three-week journey to Europe which saw him deliver three tonnes of medical equipment and medications to health services dealing with the displaced and injured in central and southern Ukraine.
Born in Ukraine, Dr Andriy Boyko, who attended Macleans College and Howick College, was passionate about using his contacts and connections in Ukraine to organise a medical supply chain through Europe to bring medicine to those in need. In his fundraising efforts, he has so far raised A$120,156 on GoFundMe.
With the aid of the Australian Federation of Ukranian Organisations (AUFO), who organised freight forwarding into Ukraine, Boyko’s first shipment of $20,000 acute traumatic first aid supplies left Australia in early April.
The second shipment of general medicine/humanitarian aid departed a month later on May 16 with Boyko on board. He arrived in Germany to pick up the medication and medical equipment, took several trips to and from Germany and Poland because of the sheer volume of the load, and delivered it to Lviv, a city in Western Ukraine, where it was distributed to Odessa, Kyiv and Dnipro.
From there it went further east to war-affected regions. Through this process, he worked closely with NGOs Ukranian Guardian Angels and the Volunteers of Dnipro or TAPS Ukraine.
A lot of refugee camps have now closed down because displaced Ukranians have been placed in foster families and various accommodations, Boyko says. The Polish town of Wroclaw has a population of one million and 200,000 refugees.
“When you walk down the street, you hear as much Ukranian as you do Polish,” Boyko says. “Poland went out of their way to help these people and give them homes and jobs and taking them in.”
In Lviv, the sight is quite deceiving, Boyko says. Outside of the occasional air-raid siren, its business as usual – coffee shops are open, streets busy, but when spoken too, the city’s inhabitants will show pictures of destroyed homes and stories of family members fighting on the front and friends killed.
“It’s quite amazing how resilient Ukranians are,” Boyko says. “They’re looking for help, but not necessarily for pity. There’s a sense of pride and resolve.”
Boyko says that fighting has increased dramatically on the south eastern fronts “where there is a shortage of equipment for those volunteering to defend Ukraine”.
“They are short on food, clothes and boots but yet are resisting the whole Russian army.”
Boyko returned to his home in Australia over a week ago. His father, Valeriy Boyko, will be travelling with another shipment to Ukraine soon.
“As long as people continue to support me, I’ll continue to do what I can through my contacts in Ukraine,” Boyko says.