One year on and this horrific invasion and conflict shows no signs of ending any time soon sadly.
Estimates state the casualty figures at over 200,000 people from both sides with more than 8 million people forced from their homes and now displaced because of the conflict.
There are no estimates to the number of animals that have been killed, injured or have lost their home too as a result of this war.
Every single day we receive urgent requests from animal shelters in eastern Ukraine who are unable to evacuate their animals and are desperate for food supplies for their starving animals. Most shelters in the west are now over flowing with animals from Ukraine that sadly won’t be found homes.
Our charity has made a commitment that we will support shelters that wish to keep their animals in place where it is relatively safe to do so, as long as the shelter staff intend to remain.
Keeping the dogs in place within Ukraine and caring for them there is, for us, the better option in the long-term. There is a shortage of suitable families willing to adopt and, with the cost of living crisis becoming worse, that situation will not change any time soon.
To ensure we could do this efficiently we had to rethink how Nowzad operates. Our previous small office in Tiverton was just not up to the task – nor did we have enough staff to meet the increased demands of now operating in two conflict zones - Ukraine and Afghanistan. A complete rethink was required. It took nearly a year to fully implement the required changes to have Nowzad 2.0 ready to deliver on our new commitments.
Today, the charity has moved to a purpose built facility in Bradninch, Devon, designed to accommodate the considerable quantities of animal food and medical/veterinary supplies donated to us by our kind supporters. It is a constant challenge to meet our commitments in Ukraine but at least we can now rise to this challenge in 2023, in a fit-for-purpose office/warehouse area. Two particular challenges that spring straight to mind is how to get over 14 tons of supplies through the complicated, post-Brexit paperwork of French customs, and then move it all across the rather epic journey of over 1977 miles which will see a fully laden lorry heading east across northern Europe.
Our lorry travels right across Germany and then into Poland, to our rented warehouse in Przemyśl on the Ukrainian border. Here, Toby, our new addition to the team, will offload supplies and donations (as well as supplies arriving from other destinations within Europe) and break them down into smaller 1 ton loads to be ferried across the border into Ukraine. The final journey is onwards to Lviv, where our newly registered Ukrainian NGO is based.
Within a former Soviet era industrial complex, you will find the Nowzad Lviv warehouse and its dedicated, two-man/woman team - local nationals Vol and Liuba. They will then offload supplies for their final sort into the various piles awaiting onward transport to the many shelters and volunteer groups across Ukraine that desperately need them.
Our team in Ukraine is not only delivering vital animal supplies but also supporting localised Trap Neuter Vaccinate and Release programs (still operating even under conflict conditions) to humanely reduce the stray dog population where a recent outreach programme managed to treat over 2000 dogs. Recently Liuba was called to the Ministry of Justice on behalf of our charity to receive a certificate of appreciation in recognition of Nowzad’s work in supporting and providing food and supplies to working dogs in units close to the hostilities.
We have also assisted working dogs within frontline Ukrainian military units with protective gear. All of us here at the Nowzad charity, just like you, would rather dogs were not involved in this war but that is not our call to make. So we have answered a call to provide bullet proof body armour for the dogs instead, in a bid to protect them from injury and harm.
We are also working closely with our partners in Ukraine to deliver life saving medical support to dogs and cats injured in the conflict. Sadly, we see so many blast and burn injuries but, with your continued support, we can deliver veterinary aid to these poor animals and where it is needed most.
Even when the conflict is brought to an end, the need for supplies will continue as the even harder work of rebuilding begins. Alongside these efforts, animal welfare projects such as vaccination and neutering of dogs and cats will be scaled-up across the country.
We will need funding to be ready for the time when we can support these rebuilding efforts.
So as always it is about funding – we desperately need your support. Could you organise a animal food collection party? Maybe even arrange to collect and deliver supplies to our warehouse in Devon or even go that bit further and collect a van full of humanitarian supplies and deliver them direct to our warehouse in Poland?
Could you rally friends and family to your house for a coffee morning or party?
Everyone brings a bag of dog or cat food? Who can collect the most? Let us know via our email or phone! Email us here or call direct on 07583812091
Any idea is a good idea so please let us know – thank you.
The animals of Ukraine need you and together we can be the difference for them.