A German travel agent turned aid worker


Marten Lange-Siebenthaler employed to make a dwelling organizing holiday getaway trips to Ukraine. When the war broke out, he switched to sending humanitarian support, rather than travellers, to the place.

Marten Lange-Siebenthaler personally delivered a first batch of aid mere days into the war

© privat
Marten Lange-Siebenthaler individually delivered a very first batch of support mere times into the war

Marten Lange-Siebenthaler runs Dreizackreisen, a Berlin-centered journey agency specialized in jap and southeastern Europe as very well as the Baltic states. The company has been arranging outings to Ukraine given that 2006. The country has been hugely well-known with his customers.

Ever given that Russia introduced its attack on Ukraine on February 24, even so, Ukraine vacations have been out of the problem.

Lange-Siebenthaler, who maintains near ties to Ukraine, has now switched to sending humanitarian support somewhat than tourists to the war-stricken state. He shipped a very first load of items in the early times of the war.

DW: What exactly are you undertaking to help persons in Ukraine?

Marten Lange-Siebenthaler: We have contacts in Ukraine and acquired from them what is most essential in numerous diverse cities. We are trying to meet these precise calls for. Our strategy is distinctive to that of significant help organizations, who do significant get the job done. Our tactic is to discover out what merchandise are desired where and then supply them.

You have shown a array of things on your internet site that are most essential in Ukraine. What are they?

Our initially supply to Ukraine was produced possible with the help of persons from Grünheide [a rural region just southeast of Berlin] we brought tinned foodstuff, outdoor tools these kinds of as tents, tenting mattresses, sleeping baggage as very well as ability banks and flashlights.

Medicine, dressing material, tranexamic acid [to halt heavy bleeding] and so on are in dire need to have. We are now arranging professional medical devices for ambulances. We are observing normal vans becoming transformed to ambulances, which is why we are presently hunting for defibrillators, ECG screens and this kind of devices.

Sorting through humanitarian aid for Ukraine at Marten Lange-Siebenthaler's home near Berlin

© Marten Lange-Siebenthaler
Sorting via humanitarian support for Ukraine at Marten Lange-Siebenthaler’s home around Berlin

You launched your initially aid delivery to Ukraine just a couple times into the war. Convey to us about your practical experience.

We rented a Mercedes Sprinter van. My friend and I left for Poland, reaching the southeastern city of Chelm at 3 a.m., the place we rested for 4 hrs prior to continuing to the Dolhobyczow border crossing at 7 a.m.

In the course of our journey, we contacted a mate, who ordinarily will work as a Ukraine tour information for us, to coordinate the handover. It is really a hugely organized affair on the border: Polish officers guided us to the Ukrainian checkpoint, who then despatched us to a lane main to a parking good deal on Ukrainian soil. Our Ukrainian associates joined us there and we were being ready to quickly unload our humanitarian aid.

And then you returned suitable absent to Germany?

Yes, although we required to preserve an eye out for anyone who could possibly want to be part of us for the return journey. It was not effortless locating folks driving the border. We talked to several persons who explained to us about a put in a close by city that aids refugees vacation to basic safety.

A member of the Polish armed forces there put us in contact with two girls and a kid searching for a ride. We dropped them off in Wroclaw [a city in southwestern Poland]. Authorities took down the particular facts of all refugees and people transporting them we had the impression every thing was professionally structured.

Loading up food and other items before embarking for Ukraine

© Marten Lange-Siebenthaler
Loading up foodstuff and other things just before embarking for Ukraine

Are you scheduling to get more aid to Ukraine? If so, which products will you produce and when will you mail them?

We introduced a fundraiser on Betterplace.org to purchase a standby power generator for a clinic in Brody, a town in western Ukraine. We acquired the resources with each other rather promptly. Now, we are organizing how to transportation the generator to Ukraine in the coming days.

We have determined to continue our fundraiser in light of the too much to handle guidance we have observed. With so quite a few additional merchandise desired, we are now amassing €10,000 ($11,000) to get healthcare solutions and tools. We have by now collected half this sum. We will organize a different transport for these merchandise.

Have the developments in Ukraine influenced you emotionally?

Looking at gals and little ones cross the border carrying just two or 3 smaller bags of particular belongings, knowing they are heading into an uncertain upcoming — that is genuinely saddening. And so is mastering from buddies and acquaintances in jap, southern and central Ukraine who have experienced to flee. Listening to their stories and the struggling they are dealing with does not leave you cold. Subsequent the information in Ukrainian media, delivered you discuss the language — all of this is unsettling. So sure, observing what is occurring in Ukraine has affected me extremely deeply.

This interview was performed in German by Marco Müller.

Creator: Marco Müller

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