On Thursday morning, a specially chartered plane will depart from Ben Gurion Airport in Israel carrying with it 15 tonnes of medical supplies, food, humanitarian aid, for Ukrainian refugees at the Moldova border. The plane is being sponsored by United Hatzalah in partnership with El Al airlines and will be bringing an additional 40 medical personnel, EMTs, paramedics, doctors, psychologists, and therapists, to join the organization’s 15 volunteers already on the ground, who have been active in assisting Ukrainian refugees in the country since Sunday.
“Our initial team had two purposes,” explains Dov Maisel, Vice President of Operations who will be on the flight. “They were tasked with assisting refugees as much as they could at the border crossings and in Chisinau, but they were also tasked with assessing the needs on the ground and laying the groundwork for this larger mission which is departing tomorrow morning. Our initial estimate was that we would need to send 30 people total. After our jump team landed and saw the humanitarian crisis developing in Moldova, we raised that number and are now bringing an additional 40 people and 15 tonnes of supplies, covering everything from food, warm blankets, and clothes, hand warmers, to feminine hygiene products and diapers.”
When Israeli companies heard about the relief effort they rushed to help. Food supplies were donated by Osem who sent 10 pallets of dry food, as well as Hashachar Ha’ole, Prinir, Wissotzky, Soglowek, Strauss, Filtuna, Leiman Schlussel, Materna, and Latet, while Dr. Fischer donated 9 pallets of hygiene products. Toys, clothing, medical equipment, and other goods were donated by various companies including Appsflyer, Innovation Africa, Diplomat Israel, We Cannot Stand Silent, Nestle, ResQbattery, the Manufacturers Association of Israel, and Sano.
Once the plane lands in Romania, the medical team will disembark with the supplies and make their way by land transport to the border with Moldova and then to Chisinau to connect with United Hatzalah’s team on the ground. The plane will then turn around and fly back to Israel, but it won’t be flying empty.
“We are bringing home approximately 150 Ukrainian refugees who have Israeli citizenship,” said Eli Beer President and Founder of United Hatzalah. “The complexity of this operation is immense. It involves travel permits, diplomatic relations, and travel between three countries by land and by air and there was an incredible amount of logistics involved. Our teams both in Israel and Moldova have been working around the clock on this operation in order to get everything ready. This will be one of our proudest moments as an organization.”
“The situation on the border with Ukraine is stressful,” said David Krispil, Deputy Vice President of Operations for United Hatzalah and team commander of the Moldova-Ukraine border relief team. “We are assisting approximately 1,500 Ukrainian refugees per day, providing them with food, humanitarian aid, and free medical treatment when needed. We have even begun to teach refugees first aid and CPR courses so that they can assist themselves, their families, and each other as they continue on to their destinations. We will be using the additional supplies and staff to set up round-the-clock emergency medical clinics and field hospitals at the border crossings of Palanca and in the north near Moligev as well as in the capital city of Chisinau where many of the refugees have come, and we are providing assistance to all refugees regardless of race or religion. We are ecstatic that this flight will enable us to bring some of these refugees home so that they can begin their lives anew.”