The humanitarian association Mediterranea Saving Humans has launched its third Safe Passage mission to take medicine, food and other aid to Ukraine and to bring refugees fleeing the war back to Italy.
Volunteers from Mediterranea Saving Humans left Thursday (April 28) for Lviv on a third so-called Safe Passage mission, to deliver medicine, food, and blankets to Ukrainian civilians. The organization also aims to bring people out of the war zones.
"Thanks to the previous missions, 177 people have been rescued and brought to our country (Italy) and nine tons of humanitarian aid has been delivered including medicine, food, basic goods, clothing, and blankets," said Gianluca Peciola, volunteer from the mission.
The aim is to try and "save as many people as possible" -- Ukrainian as well as non-Ukrainians. The devastation of war has hit refugees from other nations as well who had sought safety in Ukraine prior to the conflict with Russia.
The volunteers also want to help bring out those who are "unable to flee, or men who do not identify with their gender and who want to leave the country despite a ban on doing so."
Vehicles left from Rome, Milan, Bologna, and Veneto
According to Mediterranea Saving Humans, the volunteers taking part in the mission have left in vehicles from Rome, Milan, Bologna, and Veneto.
Medicine and basic necessities will reportedly be transported in vehicles driven by activists from the Casetta Rossa association of Rome as well as by volunteers from other associations of the capital that will bring refugees from the conflict back to Italy.
"Medicine for children and basic necessities will be taken to Ukraine, mostly provided by the Bologna town council," said Casetta Rossa activist Luciano Ummarino.
The caravan will continue on to Kharkiv, Ternopil, and Kiev after Lviv. They are expected to return to Rome on May 5. The refugees will be received by the Rome town council.
"Even though there are few places left to put them, for now we should be able to receive the people arriving," said Andrea Catarci, councillor for de-centralisation, participation, and services for the city.
Baobab -- help for African, Middle Eastern students
The Rome-based NGO Baobab Experience is involved too. The NGO focuses on refugees and the homeless. Alongside the missions by Safe Passage it took a three-vehicle convoy first to Moldavia and then to Odessa and Mykolaiv.
"We had many requests for help," said the head of Baboab, Andrea Costa, "especially from African and Middle Eastern students that could not leave the country. Through cultivating relations, we were able to rescue them."