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Vancouver Island warehouse pulls together trauma centres for war-torn Ukraine

Building supplies, firefighting equipment, first aid goods head overseas in shipping containers

A pair of shipping containers stuffed with the basics to help build wellness centres for the people of Ukraine shuttled across Canada last week ahead of a trip across the Atlantic.

Packed at the Compassionate Resource Warehouse in Esquimalt and bound for Poland, contents of the containers are specific, warehouse president Dell Marie Wergeland explained.

The first was filled primarily with medical supplies and equipment and the second with building needs to convert five containers into trauma counselling centres. More than 2.6 million people have fled to Poland from Ukraine since Russia invaded in February. The plan is to build the trauma centres in Poland then move them to Ukraine when it’s safe.

READ ALSO: Ukrainian refugee’s long, cold trek away from war ends in B.C.

“The loads have been very targeted and very specific to the need on the ground,” she said of all goods sent to aid the war-torn country. The warehouse team looks to send another in June with no date or permits in place yet. Wergeland does, however, have an idea what some of the crucial needs will be – first aid supplies and art supplies for trauma counselling.

“This is long-term, this will not be over in a few short weeks. We know the need will last for many months so we need to be prepared to keep going,” she said. Their role isn’t as first or even second responders, Wergeland explained. Their work is about sustaining, looking ahead and rebuilding.

They expect to have the next major priority to target very soon for a June container headed to the same region and cause.

READ ALSO: Miracle container, filled with supplies by Esquimalt charity, survives Beirut blast

An earlier shipment held firefighting gear gathered, donated and packed by Victoria and Esquimalt firefighters. The local first responders also donated spine boards and canvas emergency stretchers. Items tucked away in the containers also include basic needs, school supplies, baby goods and hygiene products through Victoria Soap for Hope.

The containers hit the rails in B.C. bound for Montreal and could set sail in mid to late June. The warehouse hopes to have the next major priority target this week for a June container bound for Poland/Ukraine.

Those looking to donate can find the current needs list, and contact online at

READ ALSO: Victoria experts offer tips on talking with kids about Russia’s war on Ukraine

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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