I am sure you have heard about the recent commercial plane that was gunned down in Ukraine. You may have also read about the AN-26 transport plane that was shot down 3 days earlier. And if you have been closely following the events in Ukraine you may know about the more than half a dozen aircraft shot down in recent months, one of which took the lives of all 49 personnel aboard. But unless you are reading some local Ukraine news you may not know about other events involving planes. Events that bring to light the realities of transporting and treating wounded Ukraine soldiers.
Our administrator in Ukraine, Ira Sulim, received a call from the Head Doctor of the Vinnytsia regional Hospital. During the last two days 21 wounded soldiers were brought to her hospital by small planes. They were brought straight from the war field, very weak, most of them in the critical condition, and mostly young boys 20-28 years old. In total the Vinnytsia Regional Hospital has over 100 wounded soldiers. The doctors are working extra hours with only a few of the needed machines and not enough medicines or materials because of so many patients. Some of the operations are very complicated and a real test for the doctors themselves. They operate on soldiers who have over 40 bomb fragments in their bodies and the doctors don’t really have experience in such cases.
I asked some medical personal where I live how our local hospital would handle such a situation. They thought 10 simultaneous patients would really stretch the ER, and more than that would probably be air lifted to other hospitals. Such a situation would be difficult for any facility, now let’s put it in the context of Ukraine. A patient needs to bring their own food, bedding, and purchase the medicine and supplies that will be needed. In reality a hospital provides a doctor to diagnose and treat, but a family or friend cares for the patient’s needs. These young men are from different parts of Ukraine and have nobody in Vinnytsia to meet these needs.
So the head doctor was calling different organizations asking for whatever they could help with: blood donations, lamps, pampers, food, bedding, clothes, etc.
But the biggest need was for funds to help repair a breathing machine on the transport plane so it could head back out to pick up more wounded.
Ira was concerned that this need wasn’t our usual way of helping, “I hope CFK won’t be upset with this help as it doesn’t go to the orphans, but to those wounded who have nobody here in Vinnytsia.” She couldn’t say no – so she gave and she prayed. Before the day was over her prayer was answered. In the moment of need God prompted, funds came, the repairs were made and the plane was back picking up the wounded.
He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.
“Thank you for binding the wounds of those young soldiers. May the Lord heal their hearts.
With grateful heart, Ira Sulim”
Still there are needs on a more individual level. Many soldiers will need prosthetics. Some need help to be moved to their home towns or other hospitals. Also parents, wives and children of the soldiers come and they can’t stay overnight at the hospital.
Local organizations and people are getting involved. Some medical students volunteer. The local Police office and banks collected some money for medical machines. People come to donate blood. Folks from the church visited the hospital bringing bedding and food. Ira and many people from her church left their phone numbers for those who need a place to stay. Their church was asked to host about 40-50 refugees from the east of Ukraine so they canceled plans for summer camps and will use the facility to house the refugees and church members will take turns looking after them.
Ira’s husband Koen works with Christians for Israel and they are helping nearly 70 Jewish refugees form Donetsk and Lugansk. They are hosted around Kiev now and hope to go to Israel as soon as they have their papers. Among those refugees are old and young, babies and elderly people. Some escaped just with their handbags, some lost family members, some homes.
The list of needs is long and lasting; it is not for one organization or person. It is my prayer that Catalyst for Kids will continue to be used of God to “help caring hearts touch hurting lives”, be that of a hurting orphan or a wounded soldier.