Türi humanitarian convoy heads for Poland-Ukraine border
A relief convoy of buses headed off from the town of Türi, Järva County, very early Saturday morning, ferrying vital supplies for Ukrainians to that country's border with Poland, and taking over 160 people fleeing the conflict on the return trip.
Two 50-seater buses plus 10 minibuses embarked on the voyage early on Saturday, following the local voluntary fire brigade's (Vabatahtlik Tuletõrje Ühing) announcement about the drive to help the people of Ukraine, ERR reports.
Soon, the whole of Järva County was mobilized, and Meelis Välimäe, the head of the rescue operation at the volunteer fire team, said the initiative had been fully grasped by Estonians, while organization involved the Defense League's (Kaitseliit) Järva unit, its women's counterpart (Nasikodukaitse) along with the local municipality.
A branch of the Ukrainian society (Ukraina Selts) in nearby Oisu, the Estonian Refugee Council (Eesti Pagulasabi) and the volunteer Rescue Association (Päästeliit) are coordinating the initiative.
All donations were taken to Türi's cultural center on Friday to be processed by volunteers, including those from Naiskodukaitse, and placed on the buses that day so everything was ready for transport early Saturday.
At 6 a.m., which is before dawn at this time of year in Estonia, the aid column was reader to head off, and is due to reach the Poland-Ukraine border early Sunday morning.
The convoy will bring 163 people fleeing the conflict in its return journey, nearly all of whom are women and children
Maarja Brause, a doctor at Järva County Hospital, said 116 of the people would be housed in Järva County itself, shared between its three municipalities.
The convoy is expected to arrive back in Türi on Monday afternoon.
Covid and other health checks are to be conducted before heading off, and Covid-positive people can be placed together in the one bus or buses.
Over a dozen Ukrainian families living in Oisu are also ready to help out, Anna Loovili, head of the local society said, with interpreting and translation, humanitarian aid and food being among the services on offer
Humanitarian aid had also been collected late on in the week at the Paide high school, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported (see gallery below). Paide is also in Järva County.
Eleventh grade student Raul Ruugla told AK that: "We started collecting on Wednesday and gathered up all humanitarian supplies – something to eat, drink and everything that is needed."
Almost €6 million in financial donations in support of the Ukrainian people had been raised by Friday afternoon in Estonia, by the major organizations involved in relief efforts.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte