Rimma Fil: The route through Artemivsk is the most difficult for humanitarian aid
If delivery terms are the same as now, Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center will not be able to preserve the intensity of humanitarian aid supplies and resume the operation of all issuing points in non-government-controlled areas. This was announced today, on June 18, during the briefing at "Ukrainian News" information agency by Rimma Fil, Coordinator of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center.
Due to the closed checkpoints in "B" sector, Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center faced a two-week transport blockade. As a result, over 200,000 food packages for adults and more than 20,000 children kits were not delivered to the logistics centre in Donetsk on time.
"Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center was forced to close 25 out of 30 food issuing points in towns and settlements in NGCA of Donetsk region one after the other. Our warehouses at Donbas Arena logistics centre are practically empty, – Rimma Fil said. – During the last two weeks we were doing everything we could. Over this period the convoy, consisting of 20-ton trucks arrived at "B" and "C" sector checkpoints for 8 times, trying to cross the contact line. We wrote letters, spread the news far and wide, asked government authorities to be human and provide a corridor for humanitarian aid delivery. The Humanitarian Center's hotline received enormous number of calls with requests for help. They are actually requesting this help, as according to the United Nations, there are 3.2 million people living across the contact line and most of them need help, this is a matter of survival for them.
And yesterday the event, which everybody had been waiting for, finally happened. At the ninth attempt 21 out of 31 trucks were customs-cleared at the checkpoint near Artemivsk (C sector) and crossed the contact line. 10 more trucks stayed overnight in Artemivsk, as they couldn't pass through the checkpoint before its closing due to the long customs inspection. Today at 10:30 the second part of the convoy passed through customs control and fiscal service inspection. Now all the 31 trucks are in non-government-controlled area and approaching Donetsk. This convoy delivers 620 tons of food that will be used to form 40,000 survival kits for adult civilians of Donetsk and Makiivka.
"We hope that the convoy successfully arrives at Donbas Arena". This road is very difficult. As a result of hostilities, the bridges and roads are broken, which is dangerous for drivers' lives. When passing through the checkpoint in Artemivsk, the total distance increases by 100 kilometres. In this case, the convoy is driving for two days. The route through Artemivsk is the most difficult for today, and it is not accepted by all international organizations" – Rimma Fil says.
Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center emphasizes that the Center and all the humanitarian missions require a separate checkpoint. Why is it necessary? To separate commercial loads from humanitarian ones. For fiscal services at the checkpoints to understand that this is humanitarian aid coming. There is a certain experience for humanitarian convoys to deliver food to civilians smoothly and without obstacles, as required by all international norms.
According to Rimma Fil, it takes 5-6 days to form a truck convoy. "This means that the required intensity of product deliveries will be hardly achieved. As of today, we are not able to deliver humanitarian aid several times a week as before. If earlier the Center organized 10 truck convoys to Donetsk per month, in the current mode a maximum of 5 convoys can be organized during this period. That is why the Humanitarian Center is asking for the corridor again and believes that Volnovakha checkpoint will be the best for this matter, – Rimma Fil. – We appeal to all international organizations, who are having the same difficulties with humanitarian aid delivery. We forwarded this Statement to all the possible authorities, where we request our humanitarian aid to reach civilians, because we are sure that people cannot be left in trouble".
31 trucks have already passed Makiivka, delivering the most important and demanded food for people. Today and tomorrow these products will be unloaded and survival kits will be formed, and starting from Monday the packages will be delivered from Donbas Arena logistics warehouse to the issuing points in Donetsk and Makiivka.
"But in this situation, if we continue going through the checkpoint in Artemivsk, the Humanitarian Center cannot talk about opening all issuing points in non-government-controlled areas. However, the Center will apply its best efforts, because our fellow countrymen live there and this goal was set to the Humanitarian Center by Rinat Akhmetov" – Rimma Fil said.