We are on an operational pause at the moment – giving our blood pressure a welcome chance to decelerate and return to a more sustainable rate.
But, we will be going back east later this month to continue what we started down there.
In the last few weeks we have helped many families in that region, detecting and deactivating an array of deadly explosives. But there are still countless communities that need our help. And we are determined to be there for them.
One big recent development is that we have struck an agreement to partner up with explosive units within the local police forces.
These EOD (Explosiv Ordnance Disposal) teams will work alongside us as we clear communities of the lethal ordnance that are strewn throughout the country.
To have the backing of the police shows that they understand the enormous pressure we are under. Moreover, they have demonstrated a willingness to put themselves in harm’s way to help us. We are grateful for that.
In this period of relative rest, we are spending a lot of our time reviewing and analysing the first phase of the operation. The goal is to use the lessons we have learned to ameliorate phase two.
One thing that we have come to realise is that, rather than concentrating resources and workers into one area, it is sometimes a better strategy to divide and distribute your means.
Therefore, instead of seeking a total solution in one area before moving onto the next, we will spilt workers and resources.
LAST week, I drove into a town as it was being shelled.
As we sat on the outskirts of the town, our team car parked on top of a hill, and we looked down as white smoke rose from the crumbling civilisation below.
We were around 5km away from this village. When the shelling settled down, we entered the town, and found shaken people holed up their homes.
What the Russians are doing against these people can simply and accurately be described as a campaign of terror.
Every house bears the scars of war.
They are pocked with shells and lacerated with bullets.
Every three or four have been hit hard by a shell or missile and are totally destroyed.
It is carnage…
Making the call
WHEN we do go into these highly volatile and dangerous areas, it is up to each volunteer to decide whether they want to proceed or not. I cannot make that kind of decision for them. It is up to each person to decide for themselves.
Just because I am willing to do a job does not mean that I can expect it from anybody else. These are, in some sense, highly personal
In some other cases, however, it would not be safe to enter these active warzones with certain people, simply because they do not possess the skills that would be essential if the worst came to pass.
You want whoever you are with to be adept in the use of a tourniquet or a quick clot.
If you are bleeding out, you want somebody nearby who is proficient, competent and quick at delivering the life-saving treatment you
Occupied and vacated
SOME of the areas we have
been working in were occupied
by the Russians for up to six
While it is certainly the case that they need cleared of explosives before the locals can resume their lives, they are generally of happy spirits.
Evidence of this comes by way of the invites they have extended us into their homes.
With their children by their sides, they have asked us in for tea and coffee, thanking us for helping them.
It is both heart-warming and reaffirming of the importance of our mission.
We take their gratitude as a sign that what we are doing is changing lives.
Then we look at their children and see the next potential victim of an unseen mine.
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