Since the beginning of the war, the association “Tavi draugi” has sent more than 400 trucks with donations to Ukraine and transported several thousand Ukrainian civilians to Latvia. The association said that this could only happen thanks to support by the residents. Assistance to victims will continue to be needed in Latvia and Ukraine, but aid volumes are shrinking.
Beāte Bēvalde from the association said "One day we realized that the volume of donations had fallen very, very low on things that not everyone finds at home [..] But if we each bring one pack of pasta, we already have a lot of pasta. When these types of donations started to fall, we got a little worried."
A volunteer driver Aigars Loss is among those still heading to Ukraine on Thursday evenings with his own minivan, ironically bought from the Russian embassy, he said. The van has been to Ukraine and back eight times. One of the challenges faced was buying fuel in Ukraine.
"At one point, we realized that we were left without fuel, there was no way to buy fuel in Ukraine, it was just impossible for tourists,[..]. I had heard from the locals that they had to wait four hours, and the volume of [fuel] that can be bought is also ridiculous – 10 to 15 liters," said Loss.
As the war in Ukraine continues, people still need help, but Latvian generous amounts of donations have decreased significantly, volunteer associations have indicated.
Volunteer Artūrs Kristlībs said: “We get used to that information very quickly and we perceive it as the norm, and when it is the norm there is no initiative to act. The resources in Latvia to accommodate people are exhausted; if 40,000 refugees are still brought to us, we do not see where to house them. The last cars [driving to Ukraine] have been empty [of donations] and there are also fewer drivers who would be ready to go to Ukraine. Aigars is one of those who has stayed from the beginning and has not given up because he knows the task. What he does, what we do, it's a sacred job.”
Beāte Bēvalde added: “We have to continue to the end, we will go to the end, and very, very much await support from fellow people.”