Volunteers supporting rescue operations in Ukraine have taken delivery of £10,000 of desperately needed mobile phones donated by Whiteley-based tech recycling specialist WeBuyAnyPhone.com.
The package of 100 brand new Alcatel devices, chosen for their long battery life, were included in an aid van delivered to Poland by a group of volunteers from Hampshire.
From there, the phones will go to the Ukrainian Association of Women in Law Enforcement, which will use them to coordinate search and rescue efforts, as well as counsel those traumatized by the conflict.
The delivery was coordinated by Mick Balch, managing director of Portsmouth-based L&S Waste Management, which has made several deliveries in the area since the start of the war in February.
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Mick is connected to a network of volunteers including Graeme Warnell, who lives in Krakow with his wife Aga.
Graeme said: ‘There’s a fantastic group of people here who are helping out, just using their time to do whatever they can – whether that’s housing refugees, giving aid where it needs to be or to meet people’s needs.
The couple have helped house refugees and secure donations for those in need.
“I heard through this network that one of our volunteers had received two letters from the Association desperately looking for mobile phones as many had been stolen by the Russians – they take anything they can get their hands on.
“Cell phones are key to coordinating the effort and they needed simple phones with long battery life to keep the lines of communication open.
Mobile phones, which are in short supply in Ukraine due to ongoing looting by Russian forces, will make a “huge difference” to those on the ground, Graeme said gratefully.
Aaron Brown, co-founder of WeBuyAnyPhone.com, said: “All of us at WeBuyAnyPhone.com were shocked and appalled to see the suffering in Ukraine.
“When we heard about the need for mobile phones, we saw a way to have an immediate impact. We are delighted to see that these devices will now be put to good use, and grateful to Mick and all the volunteers involved for getting them to where they are needed most.