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Archive for April, 2014

Ukraine Crisis Information Sources

Posted by worldorphanrelief on April 25, 2014

OSCE

For those of you who wish to keep informed about the events in Ukraine, the following site will give you the most accurate and politically-neutral updates. They report what they hear and see on-location, nothing more: http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm.  Another great source of accurate data is BBC World News . 

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Crisis Continues in Eastern Ukraine – Fishermen Prepare for Next Mission

Posted by worldorphanrelief on April 25, 2014

BBC Donetsk 1 BBC Donetsk 2
As I am busily gathering members for our medical and extraction team for Ukraine, events within Donetsk continue to deteriorate. UA commandos have taken out several roadblocks near Sloviansk, prompting the Russians to order new military exercises along the border. It is now fully recognized that regular Russian army troops are operating within Ukraine in full violation of international law.

During my brief stint into Donetsk I came across several of these roadblocks as they were being constructed. Though I encountered no resistance or anti-American sentiment, the current attitude is most definitely very hostile to any foreigners attempting to gain access to the province. This will make our work much more difficult and dangerous. Nevertheless, we are committed to the cause.

Below are photos (courtesy of BBC) of a roadblock taken out by UA forces earlier today, and a checkpoint manned by pro-Russian militia near Krasny Linam.

 

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Russian Troops in Donetsk, Ukraine

Posted by worldorphanrelief on April 25, 2014

Donestsk BBC Russian Troops 1 Donestsk BBC Russian Troops 2 Donetsk Affected Areas
It isn’t proof, but the Obama administration, the State Department, and General Philip Breedlove – NATO’s commander in Europe – have all confirmed that Russian troops are operating in eastern Ukraine to coordinate pro-Russian paramilitary groups in an attempt to further destabilize the country.

What does this mean? In my opinion, based on personal observation while in Ukraine, whatever attempt at negotiation between the US, Russia, and Ukraine will not translate into actual action on the ground. The words being spoken in Geneva are as tangible as a unicorn – beautiful, but unrealistic. Russia will continue to break Ukraine into smaller, easily-controlled parcels regardless of Geneva.

What does this mean for me and The Fishermen? It means I will be going back. Many children still need to be moved to safety and time is running out. I have already begun processing the paperwork.

The below photos are suspected regular Russian soldiers in Ukraine. The final image shows the areas now under Russian control in the Donetsk oblast. Similar situations exist in Kharkiv and Luhansk.

 

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Medical Rapid Response Team Being Assembled for Ukraine Crisis

Posted by worldorphanrelief on April 25, 2014

Ukraine Hotel Clinic
We are assembling a 4 person medical response team for the Ukraine crisis. If needed, it is our hope to be on-station within 72 hours. Aidmatrix had my tickets ready within 24 hours of my request, so we feel that this estimate is not unrealistic.During my stay I discussed the medical situation with officials responsible for all free clinics in Ukraine. It was made clear that during the protests in Kyiv there was a noticeable lack of emergency medical personnel. As hostilities spread the need for outside assistance will be critical.

We must add one more trauma nurse and a medic to the team. If you are interested please contact us directly. It is important that you understand you may be subjected to combat conditions.

 

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Xperedon Interview – Ukraine

Posted by worldorphanrelief on April 25, 2014

Xperedon
Swiss company Xperedon wrote an article about our mission to Ukraine: http://www.xperedon.com/news/2628/ukraine-orphan-charity-mission.html. A post-trip follow-up interview will be conducted in a few days. I hope you like it!

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National Emergency Plan for Evacuating Orphaned Children in East Ukraine Complete

Posted by worldorphanrelief on April 25, 2014

NC 1
“To see people for who they are and face their complexities both good and bad, to travel beyond familiar stars and immerse yourself in foreign cultures, and to shake hands with many strangers – this is how you will understand the world.” Alex Gowen

A photo of me with the minister for Child Affairs after presenting him with a small gift from the city of Raleigh and the people of the state of North Carolina. It was during this meeting that our national emergency plan was completed. The final draft was submitted to the office of the interim president of Ukraine the following day.

 

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Ukrainian Children Need Your Help!

Posted by worldorphanrelief on April 25, 2014

30 31 50 51 65 DSC_9013 DSC_2428 IMG_5527 Donetsk 1 Donetsk 2 Donetsk 3 Donetsk 4 Donetsk 5 Donetsk 6 Donetsk 7 Donetsk 8 Donetsk 9 Donetsk 10 Donetsk 11
These are the children we must protect. Most of those pictured here are from the Donestsk and Kherson oblasts in the east. All are in danger.

Also pictured is the reason for the necessity of moving these wonderful children. They are in direct line of fire between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russia separatists in all of the eastern oblasts. The danger will increase exponentially should war erupt between Russia and Ukraine. Bear in mind that Russia currently has over 40,000 troops within a few miles of the border.

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Barricades on the Maidan, Ukraine

Posted by worldorphanrelief on April 25, 2014

Day One IMG_1068 IMG_1070 IMG_1110 IMG_1074 IMG_1167 IMG_1168 IMG_1169 IMG_1170
Barricades erected during the protests on the Maidan. Similar structures built by pro-Russian separatists can be found throughout eastern Ukraine as the crisis continues.

I was able to visit the Donestsk area during my stay and was stopped by several such roadblocks manned by armed militia. Though I was questioned, they were not hostile and I did not encounter any anti-American sentiment. I heard the constant sound of automatic weapons fire and saw Ukrainian helicopter gunships flying overhead. Cleary, this is a nation on the brink of great humanitarian disaster.

 

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Images of Crisis in Ukraine

Posted by worldorphanrelief on April 25, 2014

DSCN2091 DSCN2101 DSCN2106 DSCN2115 DSCN2129 DSCN2148

Some images from Ukraine. There are many such memorial sites for those who fell during the recent protests in Kiev. Though we remain diplomatically neutral, it is important to note the suffering of the people and the dangers they face as a country on the brink of civil war as well as possible invasion from Russia.

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Progress Made on National Emergency Plan for Evacuating Orphaned Children from Confict Zones in UA

Posted by worldorphanrelief on April 25, 2014

IMG_1115
Hard at work with our partners at the Alliance for Ukraine Without Orphans (http://en.ukrainabezsyrit.org/). From the moment of my arrival we began assembling a national emergency plan to provide proper safety and support for the 40,000 orphaned children in the eastern oblasts of Ukraine (Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donestsk, Kherson, and Odessa).Due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing crisis it is necessary to address many complex issues before taking action. Of particular concern is that by moving the children prior to hostilities we may be signaling the approach of war, which would have the possible side effect of creating the very conflict we are trying to avoid. Also of great concern is the possibility of Russian invasion which, if it occurs, may not stop at the border of the eastern oblasts, thereby requiring a second move of all children.

Our solution is to send children who still have living parents back home where possible, and find foster homes for the remainder. As for the legally-orphaned children (those without living parents), of which there are approximately 7 to 8,000, we will be moving them to over 3,200 churches in the mid and western regions of Ukraine.

At the time of my departure we had secured the “green light” from the appropriate government administrations and our proposal was being sent for approval by the interim president of the Ukraine.

 

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