Carla’s aid convoy arrives at Ukrainian border

By Lisa James
11/03/2022
Home » Carla’s aid convoy arrives at Ukrainian border

Travel agent Carla Hodgson’s mercy mission to provide aid to Ukrainian refugees has reached its destination.

The Fareham-based homeworker, husband Jason and the rest of the convoy from local charity Jacobs Well, arrived in Sighetu Marmatiei, north-west Romania, late on Thursday evening local time.

The convoy left England on Tuesday morning and overcame several obstacles, including being stopped by police in Austria and having to fix lights on their trailer on their way to the Hungarian border.

The Romanian town is situated along the Tisa river on the border with Ukraine, across from the Ukrainian town of Solotvyno.

Carla posted on her social media to say: “Job done, all unloaded.

“Now we are being fed. We are having the same as the refugees – minestrone soup, goulash and couscous.

“The team here are amazing. What a collaboration between the teams in the UK and Romania.”

She told Travel Gossip: “We were welcomed when we arrived. So many locals came out to help us unload in the dark. They were so grateful and a hearty hot meal was provided.

“We have been offered beds for the night and are staying with the refugees here at the camp. 

“They’ve received about 1,000 every week so far in this one small town. 

“The kids look calm, and have toys and games and books. The mums still look weary but are holding up for the kids’ sake.

“The team patrols all night trying to pick up the refugees who have crossed over the bridge. We hear the queues are long, and conditions are hard at the checkpoints. 

“Very sadly, people have died trying to cross the river here at this border town. 

“The weather is bitter and minus-4 degrees but it feels colder. How desperate must they be to brave the icy cold river? It’s deep and cold.

“The Romania and Moldova border towns are struggling. They don’t have much, but made sure we were looked after too.

“These people are amazing. It’s a fantastic, caring community here in Romania.”

UPDATE: Carla updated Travel Gossip on Friday morning to say:

“There were more refugees arriving all through the night. We are joining them for breakfast.

“There are two amazing, loyal dogs who seem to be protecting this building and the camp. The love a good cuddle and play like any other dog but every time the team here brings people in, the dogs outside bark.

“The temperature fell to about minus-6 overnight and, with no central heating, the building is cold.

All the rooms have calor gas type appliances. It must cost them a far bit to buy in so many gas bottles to keep the families and children warm.

“Jason met a family who have just arrived. They speak a little English and the mum needed help to get a new sim card into her mobile phone. Jason has gone to help her as she needs to call her family and make plans as to where they are going.

“This place is like a stopping point, a half-way house if you like. They can help themselves to whatever they need. There are clothes and shoes, towels, toiletries and medicine, and personal care items.

“There is a lovely play area, the kids can take toys, books and games. There are no TVs –which is probably a good thing – but they look calm and settled.

“They are from different parts of Ukraine, and some have come over 1,000 miles, right from the Russian border to the east. Many also have fled from the south, from Mariupol and Odessa.

“The weather is bitterly cold. What brave people they are to manage the long journey, especially the very small children.

“Jason has spoken to a family from Odessa. They speak of how beautiful Odessa is and how the city has been turned to rubble, with so much destroyed. They are heartbroken. They have bought their elderly parents. It’s incredible they all got out together.

“We will help them make calls and do whatever we can to support them.”

She added: “I don’t know how we can leave when so many need help.”


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