Yesterday, Melik Kaylan wrote a lengthy Forbes column about how former Georgian Defense Minister David Kezerashvili stepped forward in March 2022 and funded an entire flight of aid from the United States to Ukraine. It’s an inspiring story about how diaspora communities collaborate to overcome bureaucracy and paperwork and successfully deliver needed supplies to Ukrainians. Here’s a rundown of what happened.
Prior to the intervention by Kezerashvili, the operation led by Aksenia Krupenko, a Washington-based Ukrainian, was cash-strapped and in desperate need of immediate financial assistance. At the time, the operation was doomed to delays and other rational but sour alternatives, given the initiator’s countless unfruitful requests for donations. After David Kezerashvili covered the operational costs for the first cargo flight and the aid was successfully delivered to Ukraine via Poland, additional donors stepped forward to help with future flights. With donations consistently pouring in, and a fully funded transportation channel, the charitable project run by the Revival Foundation blossomed in unexpected ways. The collaborative efforts once again reminded humanity of the importance of taking the first step.
The Amazing Humanitarian Aid Program Orchestrated by Revival Foundation
The Revival Foundation is one of the non-profit organizations working tirelessly to ensure the well-being of Ukrainians who have been subjected to the horrors of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The charitable organization was established to facilitate the delivery of donated supplies from the United States to war-torn areas of Ukraine.
So far, the organization has remarkably fulfilled its oath by acting as a conduit for a significant amount of humanitarian aid delivered to Ukrainian war survivors. However, completing this difficult task has not been easy. Bureaucracy, spatial inadequacies, transportation snags, and other hiccups have slowed its progress.
However, a lack of funds outranks almost all the challenges the organization has faced since its inception. Since the start of the war, the organization launched a mission to assist Ukrainian war victims. Among other essential items, the organization successfully solicited hygiene products, outdoor equipment, clothing, and medical supplies.
Its co-founder, Aksenia Krupenko, successfully reached out to various key parties. Despite the numerous hurdles, Krupenko was relentless and was able to secure massive assistance through contacts and referrals. Ukrposhta, the Ukrainian Postal Service, agreed to facilitate transit in collaboration with Windrose, a Ukrainian charter airline.
Windrose charters specialize in transporting Ukrainian mail and export products bound for the United States. Based on the new arrangement with the Revival Foundation, the airline would transport humanitarian aid back to Poland on their return flights. Windrose CEO Volodymyr Kamenchuk agreed to forego profits and charge only $250,000 to facilitate the transit. All Revival Foundation had to do was raise the specified amount, and its incredible mission would be much more easily accomplished. Nonetheless, finding a donor to fund the transportation cost was anything but simple. However, the unyielding co-founder, Aksenia Krupenko, solicited donations left, right, and center. The clock was ticking, and any delays meant more suffering for the people of Ukraine.
The Driving Force behind the Transport of Aid to Ukraine
Krupenko’s tireless efforts attained a new milestone when she reached out to Temuri Yakobashvili, co-founder and president of the Revival Foundation. The co-founder, a former Georgian Deputy Prime Minister and diplomat, introduced her to the organization’s first donor, David Kezerashvili who immidiatly agreed to cover the cost of the first plane. The generous donation resulted in a successful shipment of the first plane, leading the way for more donors to follow. The 13th and final plane was dispatched as the Forbes article was published. Overall, the organizer, Aksenia Krupenko, has sent 150 tons of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, but she claims it is insufficient. She continues to raise funds for additional flights.
Georgians Commendable Efforts in Rallying Aid for Ukraine
When Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, approximately 30,000 Georgians marched through the streets of Tbilisi to condemn Russia’s aggression. Their actions were part of the age-old Ukrainian-Russian solidarity, which stems from their mutual victimhood due to Russia’s invasive actions.
Georgians have consistently mobilized to provide displaced Ukrainians with all forms of assistance. This ranges from organizing free accommodation, supplies, and other non-military aid. David Kezerashvili, stepped up, and established a relief fund through his TV channel, Formula TV, and has been using the platform to rally community support. Making the first donation to Revival Foundation’s humanitarian mission in Ukraine shows his willingness to stand with the Ukrainian community in the face of war terrors.
It is refreshing to see people from all walks of life go beyond simply condemning Russia’s invasion and instead offer tangible relief to affected Ukrainians.
Severe weather in Canada caused $3.1 billion in insured damages in 2022
The Insurance Bureau of Canada says severe weather caused $3.1 billion in insured damage in Canada in 2022, from flooding to storms to Hurricane Fiona.
That makes 2022 the third worst year for insured losses in Canadian history.
The bureau says no single event or particular region accounted for the majority of the insured damage in 2022, with disasters in almost every part of Canada last year.
That’s in contrast to a year like 2016, the worst year on record primarily because of the Fort McMurray, Alberta wildfire, which accounted for around three-quarters of national losses.
The most expensive extreme weather event for Canada in 2022 was the Ontario and Quebec derecho in May, which caused $1 billion in damages.
The other most expensive events included Hurricane Fiona, which cost $800 million, and the summer storms in Canada which cost $300 million.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2023.
Pierre Poilievre doesn’t like anti-Trudeau flags, but understands anger behind them
By Lee Berthiaume in Ottawa
Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says he doesn’t like the expletive-laden flags some Canadians are using to denounce Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but that he understands the anger fuelling such displays.
“I don’t like the flags, and I don’t like rage,” Poilievre said during an end-of-year news conference in Ottawa on Friday. “But I think we have to ask ourselves: ‘Why are people so angry?’ And the answer is that they’re hurting.”
The comments follow a blog post by former Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, who said one of his hopes for 2023 “is to see fewer profanity-laden Trudeau flags across Canada.”
Describing Trudeau as his political opponent in the last federal election, not his enemy, O’Toole wrote: “These flags and the hyper-aggressive rhetoric that often accompanies them are slowly normalizing rage and damaging our democracy.”
O’Toole’s criticism was not limited to only those who have flown the flags targeting Trudeau, as he accused actors on both the extreme right and left of contributing to a growing polarization in Canadian politics by playing off each other.
“The proliferation of these types of political displays in recent years are a sign that we are slowly becoming desensitized to political stunts and aggressive rhetoric whether it comes from the left or right,” he added.
The anti-Trudeau flags have become particularly linked to the “Freedom Convoy” protests, whose members Poilievre courted during his successful run for the Conservative leadership earlier this year. The Conservative caucus had ousted O’Toole as leader just days into the weeks-long protest in Ottawa.
Asked about O’Toole’s blog post and the flags, Poilievre said it’s easy for politicians to tell people to stop complaining. However, he added that many Canadians are angry because they are hurting financially and in other ways.
“I have never seen so much hurt and so much pain and suffering in our population during my nearly two decades in politics,” he said.
“So sure, let’s tell people to be more civil. But as political leaders, let’s actually try to solve the problems that have upset and angered and hurt people so badly. It is our job to turn that hurt into hope.”
Poilievre went on to suggest many Canadians are struggling because the Liberal government is out of touch, before promising to be a prime minister “that actually bring people together and gives them hope that tomorrow can be better.
“Let’s make this a place where people feel their hard work pays off, where they’re respected, where their leaders don’t talk down to them and point fingers at them.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 30, 2022.
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