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Kiwi Charity Secures Fleet Of Emergency Vehicles For Ukraine

The Ambulances will be joining Ukrainian medical units servicing a 1000 kilometre front. Photo: Supplied

After nearly two years of service, New Zealand charity Kiwi K.A.R.E (Kiwi Aid & Refugee Evacuation) has expanded its mission to support Ukraine, securing a further 16 decommissioned ambulances from Australia.

Led by humanitarian and former New Zealand Army Colonel, Tenby Powell, the not-for-profit has managed to amass together another shipment of emergency vehicles from around Australia, which are now en route to Europe - and ultimately the frontline.

Powell and his wife, Sharon Hunter, organised logistics and helped drive the 16 ambulances to the Australian based ship, which will carry them 20,000 kms to Europe.

Powell says the ambulances are filled with good quality second-hand tyres and spare stretchers.

In August 2023, with support from Hato Hone St John, Kiwi K.A.R.E delivered seven decommissioned ambulances filled with medical supplies to the war-torn country.

Together with logistics support vehicles, such as large vans, 4x4 cars, and a 13-tonne truck, this totals 30 vehicles Kiwi K.A.R.E has deployed to the war-torn country.

They have been used to deliver aid, transport refugees, evacuate the sick and injured, and run an Outreach Health Programme in the Red Zones for those civilians who haven’t seen a medical professional for, in some cases, years.

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“Once we get the vehicles to Kyiv, they will be serviced and stripped of their livery and painted in camouflage before joining Ukrainian medical units servicing a 1000-kilometre front.”

Kiwi K.A.R.E hopes to keep one of the Aussie ambulances to augment its Outreach Programme.

“Manaaki (meaning Caring in Te Reo) is our only ambulance dedicated to Outreach and we need another asset, together with qualified staff, to meet the demand”.

“The call by Ukraine for more ambulances comes in wake of continued attacks on hospitals, medical centres and civilian infrastructure”, says Powell.

“We need all the help we can get and we are very grateful to the many New Zealanders and Australians who have supported Kiwi K.A.R.E..”

“Since the start of the invasion in February 2022, more than 800 Ukrainian hospitals and medical centres have been attacked by Russian artillery, drones and missiles, with 150 completely destroyed. There are atrocities and war crimes still being committed in Ukraine and emergency vehicles are vital to helping Ukraine while engaged in this full-scale war”, says Powell.

Like the Kiwi ambulances, the Aussie Mercedes Sprinters are still considered a very high standard in Ukraine despite having more than 200,000 kilometres on the clock.

“While not fit for purpose in NZ or Australia, we will revamp them for frontline service and the extreme challenges.”

Behind the frontlines, Kiwi K.A.R.E continues to fabricate stoves and water heaters from recycled electrical water boilers collected from all over Ukraine. What started as a winter project in 2022, has evolved into what many Ukrainians have described as a life-saving project, now run all year round.

“To date, we have distributed over 2000 stoves to families in desperate need. Ukrainian fabricators strip and re-weld the recycled cylinders, and we distribute them to Red Zone areas where power and water infrastructure has been completely destroyed.”

Kiwi K.A.R.E remains committed to helping Ukrainians in need and we could not do this without the support and generosity of so many people and organisations here in New Zealand, Australia, and throughout the U.S. and Europe.

“The support has been overwhelming. Please keep it coming”, urges Powell.

To donate - please go to the Kiwi K.A.R.E GiveaLittle page or donate via their website.

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