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22.03.2024

“Krieg ohne Ende” – Interview with Peter Jaeggi

“Krieg ohne Ende” – Interview with Peter Jaeggi

Freelance journalist, photographer, and filmmaker Peter Jaeggi has dedicated himself to extensively researching the effects of disasters. His latest book, titled “Krieg ohne Ende (War Without End),” delves into the enduring consequences of the use of the highly toxic herbicide ‘Agent Orange’ during the Vietnam War. Jaeggi’s work serves to raise awareness of these long-term repercussions. It is a contribution to ensuring that those affected are not forgotten.

In an interview with Green Cross Switzerland, Peter Jaeggi offers insights into his latest book, distinguished by meticulous on-site research.

What inspired you to write this book, and why is it personally significant to you?
It all began with Roland Wiederkehr. I had known the former National Councillor and founder of Green Cross Switzerland long before its inception, back when he served as the first managing director of the Swiss WWF. In the late 1990s, Roland Wiederkehr invited me to Belarus on behalf of Green Cross to document the long-term effects of the Chernobyl disaster. Belarus bore the brunt of the catastrophic meltdown. Green Cross also sent me to Vietnam to investigate the long-term consequences of the Vietnam War. My first book on the subject was published in 2000 under the title “When My Child Was Born, I Was Very Sad.” This second extensive journalistic endeavor has stayed with me ever since. The new book, “Krieg ohne Ende,” marks my third exploration of the use of chemical weapons during that time.

While crafting your book, you embarked on comprehensive on-site research, conducting numerous interviews with individuals affected by Agent Orange. Is there a particular encounter that left a lasting impression on you?
There are many. During our initial research expedition, we met Phan Thi Cuc, a young mother, and her three children. The sight of the two older children, born with enormous deformities, was deeply distressing. I had never witnessed such severe deformities in a human being. Their father had been exposed to Agent Orange, containing dioxin, during the war, resulting in genetic damage. He was unable to bear the sight of his disabled children and tragically ended his own life – using a pesticide. Most interactions with victims and their families get under your skin. Many of the affected individuals require constant care, often amidst financial hardship and a lack of external support. This struggle often spans decades, as the children age and suitable facilities remain scarce.

You assert: “An encyclopaedia illustrates: Half the world was embroiled in the Vietnam War.” Could you illustrate what you mean by this?
Here are just a few examples: Switzerland provided time fuses and Pilatus Porter airplanes, which were utilized for bomb drops and capable of being outfitted with machine guns. Alongside Americans, soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Korea were actively engaged on the frontlines in Vietnam. East Germany established an air defense system, while West Germany dispatched thousands of technicians, including specialists in weapon systems. The Japanese island of Okinawa served as the primary airbase for the United States during the Vietnam War. Over a thousand nuclear bombs, as well as nerve gas and Agent Orange, were stockpiled there.

 The central and indispensable main theme of your book revolves around the victims of Agent Orange. Was it especially significant for you to amplify the voices of these victims, who are often swiftly forgotten, irrespective of conflicts?
Disasters and wars don’t just conclude when the weapons cease firing, especially not for the victims. As exemplified by Vietnam, wars can inflict enduring harm on both individuals and the environment for generations. The Vietnamese victims’ association, VAVA, is already talking about the fifth generation of children born with Agent Orange-related disabilities. It is impossible to predict how many more generations will be affected. What is paramount is that the plight of these victims doesn’t fade into obscurity and that we raise awareness of their suffering.

How do you evaluate the current situation of affected individuals in Vietnam?
I have consistently asked war veterans about their feelings toward the United States today. Almost universally, their initial response has been: “What’s done is done. One must suppress one’s feelings to move forward, to look ahead.” But is this truly reflective of their heartfelt emotions? In traditional Vietnamese culture, the expression of pain and grief is frequently veiled in silence. Conversing with war victims over time frequently reveals a sense of disappointment that Washington has never issued an apology for the war. While the U.S. has been assisting in the cleanup of heavily contaminated Agent Orange hotspots for years, with hundreds of millions invested, many of those affected have voiced grievances during my interviews, asserting that victims are being neglected and are not receiving adequate support.

What do you believe is necessary today to do right by the victims of this disaster?
There is a pressing need for increased financial support to enable affected families to live with dignity. For example, overwhelmed parents require the help of caregivers. More commitment from the U.S. is urgently needed here – but also the Vietnamese state itself. Additionally, there is a lack of reliable statistics on the number of victims, which is crucial for planning assistance effectively. How can efficient aid be provided when the actual number of victims remains unknown? – The head physician of a large hospital complained in an interview about the incomplete training of his doctors. According to him, timely recognition and treatment of birth defects pose significant challenges. However, early detection by a professional is crucial for the long-term health outcomes of affected individuals.

In your book, you also discuss the plight of affected veterans. How has the situation evolved for (U.S.) military personnel?
It’s often overlooked that hundreds of thousands of American veterans from the Vietnam War are also grappling with the effects of Agent Orange exposure. In the U.S., a veteran is not required to prove that their suffering is directly linked to Agent Orange; it is sufficient for them to demonstrate their service during the Vietnam War for their medical treatment to be covered. In contrast, the U.S. demands proof from Vietnamese Agent Orange victims, which cannot be feasibly provided based on stringent scientific criteria. For instance, determining the extent to which poisoning resulted from Agent Orange versus other sources is impossible. This is a key factor that has driven Washington and U.S. courts to consistently reject compensation claims thus far. Consequently, in the eyes of official America, there exist two categories of Agent Orange victims: domestic veterans, some of whom are acknowledged as suffering from Agent Orange-related illnesses, and Vietnamese veterans, whom Washington refuses to recognize as victims of poisoning. American Vietnam War veteran Chuck Searcy denounces this disparity as a “criminal double standard.” Searcy is one of the former soldiers who chose to remain in Vietnam and are doing great humanitarian work there. Notably, he co-founded “Project Renew,” an NGO that is dedicated to detecting and disposing of unexploded ordnance, thereby saving innumerable lives.

You also deal with the necessary judicial proceedings, which often resemble a “David versus Goliath” battle. Nearly all claims for compensation against the manufacturers of Agent Orange are dismissed on the basis that a direct link between Agent Orange and deformities cannot be established. Is there any hope for the continuation of these lawsuits in the future?
Currently, there is significant optimism surrounding the ongoing legal proceedings initiated by Vietnamese-French environmental activist Tran To Nga. As a former “Vietcong,” a term used derogatorily to refer to members of the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam, she filed a lawsuit against the largest manufacturers of Agent Orange for damages in 2014. Initially, Tran To Nga lost the case after years of protracted legal battles, marked by occasionally sensational claims. In 2021, the court of first instance in Évry justified its ruling by stating that companies acting on behalf of the state were entitled to immunity from prosecution. However, the 82-year-old’s legal team has appealed the decision. France’s highest court of appeal in Paris is set to deliver what probably will be the final verdict this May. – Why is the trial taking place in France? Because French legislation has a unique characteristic: in France, unlike in other countries, individuals can also file lawsuits against a foreign state if it causes harm to a citizen.

 To mitigate the risk of Agent Orange, it’s crucial to decontaminate the soil in dioxin hotspots. The U.S. has invested millions in this effort. However, some experts question the effectiveness of the decontamination method employed. Could you elaborate on this further?
In 2018, the former U.S. airbase and Agent Orange transshipment center in Da Nang completed a cleanup costing around 110 million euros. Official reports state that the dioxin-contaminated soil was heated to 360 degrees to neutralize the toxin into harmless compounds. However, during the process, some of the dioxin-containing fumes escaped into the air, recontaminating the surrounding area. The extent of this contamination remains unknown. – Currently, the largest decontamination operation is underway approximately 500 kilometers further south, in Bien Hoa, using the same method. Lorenz Adrian from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, who has been at the forefront of dioxin research for decades, criticizes the method used in Da Nang and now in Bien Hoa. He argues that complete destruction of the dioxin is unachievable with the heat process. Adrian has proposed an alternative solution to the Vietnamese government. This solution seems surprising at first glance, but he deems it safe: With the aid of specialized bacteria, it can be ensured that even highly hazardous toxins in the soil are rendered biologically harmless. According to Adrian, this method is applicable even in urban areas, and all that is required is a borehole, followed by the introduction of bacteria—and patience. Although it takes many years for dioxin to degrade, the process is safe and significantly more cost-effective than the thermal method.

What have you personally gleaned from your extensive experience with this issue, particularly concerning other global hotspots?
Allow me to respond with a question of my own. In the wake of catastrophic wars such as those in Vietnam, and amidst ongoing conflicts globally, the rallying cry of “No more war, ever!” seems the most natural, logical, and morally imperative sentiment. Yet, why does war persist? Could a portion of the answer lie in educational deficiencies? The reason this has crossed my mind is recent reports detailing how some Swiss schoolchildren view Hitler as an iconic figure. It’s unfathomable!

 

The Agent Orange photos accompanying Peter Jaeggi’s works have been realised since 1999 by award-winning Basel photographer Roland Schmid https://www.schmidroland.ch/

You can purchase the book ‘Krieg ohne Ende’ through the following link. Please note that the book is available only in German. With the code ‘Green Cross’, 5 francs will be donated to aid projects in Vietnam for every copy purchased.

15.03.2024

“Seeds of Hope” for Ukraine

“Seeds of Hope” for Ukraine

The war remains omnipresent for the civilian population of Ukraine. Critical infrastructure and private property are constantly being damaged and destroyed. Reconstruction takes time but is already underway. (Re)creating or growing something sustainably is part of Green Cross Switzerland’s identity. That’s why we’ve launched the “Seeds of Hope” project to aid people in conflict zones in Ukraine in restoring their gardens and fields devastated by the Russian military.

As part of this initiative, we provide people with seeds, tools, and offer training on agricultural practices. These training sessions teach efficient utilization of water, soil, and other resources to cultivate gardens and fields sustainably. With this support, people can once again grow their own staple foods and provide for their families. To date, agricultural training has been organized in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, located on the front line. Seeds have also been distributed in 16 villages around the northern city of Chernihiv.

In February and March 2024, we distributed 2,000 seed sets containing 22 different varieties such as cucumbers, tomatoes, rocket, and carrots. War-affected individuals can utilize these seeds to cultivate and nurture their own vegetables. This newfound self-sufficiency significantly contributes to alleviating food shortages and enhancing quality of life. Simultaneously, we view it as an opportunity to foster a sustainable development of Ukraine’s economy and society.

The people of Ukraine are immensely grateful to you, dear donors, for your support. We, at Green Cross Switzerland, would also like to extend our heartfelt gratitude. Your contribution instils hope for a brighter future for the people of Ukraine.

08.03.2024

International Women’s Day – Green Cross is actively engaged!

International Women’s Day – Green Cross is actively engaged!

Today, 8 March, marks the anniversary of International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day was established in the USA in 1908. The women’s organisation of the Socialist Party of America (SPA) created this day to organise demonstrations for women’s suffrage. The first Women’s Day was held in 1911, and the idea of Women’s Day spread to Europe in the following years.

Under the slogan “For Bread and Peace” during World War I, Russian women further promoted the popularity of International Women’s Day in 1917. The strike under this slogan was seen as the start of the Russian “February Revolution”, with the demonstration taking place on 8 March 1917 according to the Gregorian calendar.

As part of the “International Women’s Year” in 1975, 8 March was declared “International Women’s Day” by the UN. Despite the institutionalisation and internationalisation of Women’s Day, the social, economic, socio-political and cultural situation for women in various countries can still be described as inadequate or poor.  For example, girls and women are more frequently affected by hunger, poverty or a lack of healthcare. In addition, women generally earn less for the same work and have worse educational opportunities.

Green Cross Switzerland would like to take this day as an opportunity to thank women worldwide and the employees of our foundation for their commitment to a better society. At the same time, we would like to draw attention to the fact that a great deal of commitment is still needed, both for the emancipation of women and girls and for improving their living conditions.

It is important to us to actively contribute to improving the living conditions of women and girls. This has already been demonstrated in our project work to date. The family clubs in the region around Chernobyl focus on supporting girls and women. In these clubs, women and girls are trained in nutrition, education and health issues. In addition, the clubs promote the employment of women and motivate and empower them to become entrepreneurs. It is also important that the clubs serve as a platform for women and girls to get to know each other.

Unfortunately, the family club activities in Ukraine had to be suspended due to the war. However, they are still taking place in Belarus. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all helpers and supporters for their commitment!

In Vietnam, women – health experts, project managers and volunteers – are making an important contribution to the care and support of Agent Orange victims and to the further development of the programmes. Without their commitment, the good results of our project work in Vietnam would not have been possible. Thank you very much!

24.02.2024

Psychological support for people affected by the war in Ukraine

Psychological support for people affected by the war in Ukraine

Today marks the second anniversary of Russia’s attack on Ukraine. While many people have been displaced by the war, many others did not have the money to flee. There is therefore also a large number of families that have stayed put and who now live their daily lives in a war zone. These people are exposed to repeated physical attacks: public infrastructure and private residences are damaged or the people themselves are directly affected by the attacks.

The situation is particularly detrimental to children and young people, whose development is being arrested or impaired as a result. In addition to physical injuries, the war is also having a devastating psychological impact, including trauma and emotional stress. Traumatic experiences increase the incidence of psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, addiction and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). The field of interdisciplinary psychotraumatology has developed various therapies for people affected by traumatic experiences. These therapies are also being used in Ukraine.

In 2024, Green Cross Switzerland is aiming to increase funding for and expand its range of psychological support for children and young people, as well as adults, in Ukraine. To this end, an initial pilot study was carried out in February. A specialist psychologist taught a small group of children breathing exercises to counteract emotional stress and increase their psychological resilience for the future. Efforts are currently underway to hold further sessions and expand access to opportunities of this kind. There is clearly an urgent need for these services. Following the example of the pilot study, the aim of the therapy sessions is not just to address acute problems but also to serve preventive purposes.

Green Cross Switzerland is optimistic that these therapy services will become established and supplement and consolidate local psychological services. In the same stroke, the initiative will also bolster and promote the psychological resilience of the Ukrainian people.

08.02.2024

Food distributions as part of the Tet Festival

Food distributions as part of the Tet Festival

Tết Nguyên Đán (meaning “Festival of the First Morning”), also known as Tet Festival, is the most important Vietnamese holiday and takes place on February 10 this year. The colorful festival is accompanied by a variety of customs and traditions and preparations usually begin 1-2 weeks in advance: people decorate their homes, visit the graves of their ancestors or cook Vietnamese specialties. The Tet Festival commemorates the ancestors and is also an opportunity for people to welcome the new lunar year with family members.

As part of the Tet Festival, the Krong Buk Charity Project organized food distributions to victims of Agent Orange and their family members in the southern Vietnamese town of Ea Kly. The Charity Project Krong Buk, led by Peter Jenni and Tran Thi Hiep, was able to provide 360 families with food, co-financed by Green Cross Switzerland. This cooperation has been in place since April 2023 and ensures the pragmatic use of relief supplies on the ground.

The aid campaign had a very positive side effect: the food supplier responsible distributed additional food parcels to those affected out of her own motivation.

We are very grateful for the supplier’s help and the cooperation with the Krong Buk charity project. This year, in addition to the existing orthopaedic and social services for victims of Agent Orange as part of the Socmed program, the inclusion and implementation of new content is also planned. Green Cross Switzerland is currently investigating the situation regarding the establishment of microloans for prospective start-up companies. These planning opportunities and the realization of projects would be unthinkable without our donors. We would like to thank you for your continued support.

11.01.2024

Christmas and New Year gifts for children in Ukraine

Christmas and New Year gifts for children in Ukraine

Während viele Kinder in der Schweiz sich auf Weihnachten und somit auch auf Geschenke freuen konnten, ist die Situation für zahlreiche Jugendliche und Kinder in der Ukraine leider nicht dieselbe. Der Krieg ist allgegenwärtig und jüngere Menschen leiden besonders an den Auswirkungen der kriegerischen Handlungen. Vielfach ist es auch für die Betroffenen schwierig die aussergewöhnliche Situation nachvollziehen bzw. einordnen zu können.

Der Einsatz für Kinder, Jugendliche und junge Erwachsene ist für Green Cross Switzerland bereits lange ein Anliegen. Das Engagement für junge Menschen während des Krieges wurde relevanter denn je.

Damit auch während des Krieges ein Stück Normalität und einen Moment des sorglosen Alltags herrschen kann, offerierte Green Cross Switzerland deshalb zwischen den Weihnachts- und Neujahrstagen bis Januar 2024 600 Geschenke an Kinder und Jugendliche in verschiedenen Schulen und Kindergärten innerhalb der Ukraine. Jedes dieser Geschenke enthielt ein Spielzeug sowie verschiedene Süssigkeiten. Die Geschenke sollen Halt und Sicherheit erwirken aber auch erinnern, dass es Perspektiven für eine hoffnungsvolle Zukunft gibt.

Auch im Jahr 2024 wird unsere Stiftung die Arbeit in der Ukraine fortsetzen, wobei verschiedene weitere Schwerpunkte gesetzt werden. Die Unterstützung der Kinder und Jugendlichen wird ein wichtiger Aspekt der humanitären Hilfe sein, damit wir auch in diesem Jahr den Alltag weiterer jungen Menschen in der Ukraine etwas aufhellen können. Angesetzt sind u.a. Angebote zur psychologischen Unterstützung und Bewältigung der Kriegsereignisse.

13.12.2023

Solar energy in Ukraine

Solar energy in Ukraine

Solar energy is not a new topic in Ukraine, but has become increasingly important in the country in recent years. This is according to a joint status report published in 2021 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). The study examined renewable energy in 17 countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Southeast Europe between 2017 and 2021. It is noted that the capacity of renewable energy in the region has increased significantly (by 21 gigawatts = 1 billion watts, to 106 GW), with photovoltaics accounting for the largest increase at 58%. The authors note that renewable energy has seen particularly strong growth in Ukraine.

Ukraine on the right track, but there is still room for expansion

Of the 17 countries (including Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan), the increase in wind and solar energy was highest in Ukraine with more than 8 GW. With the equivalent of 3.4 billion US dollars, the country ranked 17th worldwide in terms of investment in renewable energy. Solar energy is being promoted domestically on open spaces and also in private households. However, public and private investment in the region is rather modest. While investments in green energy in the EU, for example, amounted to more than USD 55 billion in 2018, the funds invested in renewable energy in the region under review amounted to around USD 7.2 billion in the same year. According to the UNECE, Ukraine is also still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, which accounted for 70% of the primary energy supply in 2020.

Russian invasion of Ukraine and damage to infrastructure

The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army also severely restricted the production of renewable energy. According to the report, 90% of the previous wind energy capacity and 30% of the solar capacity was no longer in operation in June 2022.

The targeted destruction of infrastructure therefore not only affected the Ukrainian energy sector, but also health and educational facilities in particular. By October 2023, more than 4,000 educational institutions and healthcare facilities had been damaged and more than 150,000 residential buildings destroyed. It is therefore obvious that the power supply is also at great risk.

Restoring the power supply through photovoltaics is therefore also an opportunity for the country. However, the war does not currently permit any further development of the solar industry in Ukraine, which must focus primarily on survival. Support for Ukraine in maintaining solar energy is already being driven forward. For example, the German Solar Industry Association (BSW) has supported a photovoltaic system on the roof of a school in Irpin under the “Solar helps” fundraising campaign. In addition, the BSW, together with SolarPower Europe and the Ukrainian Solar Energy Association (ASEU), has set itself the goal of using solar energy to counteract the recurring power cuts in schools and hospitals caused by the war with further fundraising campaigns.

Potential scenario for renewable energy supply by 2050

The UNECE estimates the potential of bioenergy, hydropower, solar and wind energy in Ukraine to be particularly high and these could be the building blocks of Ukraine’s energy system in the future, contributing around 80% of total energy production by 2050. The challenge of implementing major investments and strategies in a targeted manner remains, especially after the war has ended. However, it is clear that, together with nuclear energy, renewable energies can lead Ukraine to a carbon-neutral future.

Green Cross Switzerland’s commitment to renewable energies

A sustainable approach to our planet based on scientific knowledge has been important to Green Cross Switzerland since its foundation and has become even more important in recent years. That is why we are planning to specifically promote and support renewable energy supply in Ukraine next year, 2024. The aim is to support the population with renewable energy in areas directly affected by the war and the region close to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

 

 

Further information can be found here:

 

07.12.2023

Volunteer team of experts back in Vietnam in fall 2023

Volunteer team of experts back in Vietnam in fall 2023

Since 2004, Swiss orthopaedists and doctors have been working on a voluntary basis in cooperation with Green Cross Switzerland to help those affected by “Agent Orange” and usually travel to Vietnam once or twice a year. The Swiss specialists work closely with local specialists, train them and share their experiences. The specialist knowledge is also imparted by the Swiss experts at the training center for orthopaedic technicians (Vietcot) in Hanoi. Green Cross Switzerland supports the team of experts with infrastructure, materials and logistics.

Another trip to Vietnam was organized in autumn 2023, in which the orthopaedic specialists Dr. med. h.c. Daniel Hueskes and Benjamin Hueskes and the physicians Dr. Jiri Skarvan and Dr. Christiane Brinkmann took part. They also visited the Vietcot during a two-week stay. The doctors carried out medical histories, examinations and treatments, primarily on children and adolescents. The extended visit also allowed local specialist staff to be instructed accordingly. In addition to visiting the Vietcot, the team also visited local hospitals in Hanoi and Thai Nguyen.

Help on site

During this time, 11 patients from the Vietcot and 15 patients from the children’s hospital in Vinh who suffered from cerebral palsy or other musculoskeletal disorders or had clubfeet were successfully examined by the Swiss specialists. As the transfer of knowledge at Vietcot (training center) plays a central role in the professionalization of healthcare staff, orthopaedic technicians and nurses in training also took part in the examinations. In addition, Benjamin Hueskes (CPO-D) and Cedric Pischel (OT) organized a prosthesis seminar for orthopaedic technicians. During the five-day seminar, five patients were fitted with prostheses by the participants. In Thai Nyguen, in addition to the 21 examinations, 9 operations were carried out and 4 children were fitted with prostheses and orthoses.

The cooperation with the volunteer team of experts is particularly valuable for Green Cross Switzerland. In addition to helping the people affected by Agent Orange, the team also serves as a link to local partners or health facilities and the international transfer of knowledge. Green Cross Switzerland would like to express its sincere thanks for the many years of cooperation and looks forward to Dr. med. h.c. Daniel Hueskes and Dr. med. Dr. h.c. Claude Müller into the patronage in October 2023.

31.10.2023

Green Cross Switzerlands Charity-Dinner

Green Cross Switzerlands Charity-Dinner

On Friday, October 27th, a charity event organised by Green Cross Switzerland took place in Zurich. Donors, volunteers, partner organisations, and interested individuals gained insights into the project work in Ukraine and Vietnam from our CEO and Swiss National Councillor, Martin Bäumle.

In addition to a detailed presentation on the current humanitarian work in Ukraine, a report on the delivery of water purification systems to the conflict-affected country was also presented. Subsequently, the project work in Vietnam was introduced. To conclude, Dr. med. Claude Müller and Dr. h.c. Daniel Hueskes were honoured for their long-standing cooperation, and an honorary award was presented to them as a token of gratitude for their volunteer efforts.

Green Cross Switzerland would like to thank all the guests for their participation, as this evening would have been unthinkable without your help, dear donors, volunteers, interested individuals, and partner organisations.

17.10.2023

Further assistance for Ukraine

Further assistance for Ukraine

In the second half of 2023, the warfare, especially in the south of Ukraine, is still omnipresent and there is no end in sight. While soldiers are under constant fire on the fronts, the Ukrainian population is in a precarious situation.

They are confronted with various problems that they cannot cope with alone and are dependent on help. Green Cross Switzerland therefore supports the victims of the war with a range of pragmatically designed and regionally adapted rapid assistance services, which act at different levels of everyday life and aim to improve the situations.

Since the Russian invasion in February 2022, Green Cross Switzerland focused on the delivery of humanitarian goods and especially since the end of the same year on the provision of water treatment systems that can clean dirty or contaminated water.

In addition, however, the commitment to children has been a core concern of our foundation for many years. After all, the foundation previously organized various therapy camps for children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine or Belarus. This focus on supporting children is being continued because children and young people are often exposed to acts of war.

New aid provided for the victims of war

Now, during the summer and in September, more than 200 children from the Chernihiv region were able to receive backpacks as a result of the assistance provided. The backpacks symbolize the chance of a certain regular school day; away – as much as possible – from the acts of war, an inviting start to the first day of school and give the children the opportunity to carry their personal belongings and school books.

Green Cross Switzerland also supported a hospital or rehabilitation center in Chernihiv for children with impairments. Many of the children treated there have injuries to their musculoskeletal system and to the central or peripheral nervous system. By means of the movement equipment provided, the gross and fine motor skills of children and adolescents there can be sustainably trained and improved. In the same city, a kindergarten was equipped with chairs and beds, improving the infrastructure and giving the children opportunities to feel at home. It was also possible to provide an electricity generator, which helps the cooks to prepare a warm meal for the children despite power outages.

Green Cross Switzerland has given 31 modern orthopedic mattresses to the Ripky Central Hospital, as well as others to a residence center for the homeless and two smaller hospitals. The acting general director of the hospital in Ripky expresses his gratitude and says that the delivery will improve the conditions for a stay.

More outreach planned for late fall

Further assistance is planned again for the fall and winter. For example, seeds will be distributed to people. The focus will be on the delivery of water treatment systems.

Green Cross Switzerland would like to sincerely thank you, dear donors, for continuing to support our work and giving the people in Ukraine hope for a future.