Volunteers working 'round the clock' to help people in Ukraine

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Chernobyl Children's Lifeline Charity has a base in Waveney and volunteers are working with families, women and children who are on the frontline of the Ukraine war. - Credit: AP/Chernobyl Children's Lifeline Charity

The chief executive of a national charity that has a regional base in Waveney says volunteers are working around the clock to help support families in Ukraine as the war intensifies.

The Chernobyl Children's Lifeline Charity is a national organisation which was set up in 1991 to support children and families in the aftermath of the 1986 nuclear disaster.

The charity raises money to help children experience a few weeks away from Chernobyl with a host family in the UK.

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Ukrainian servicemen walk by fragments of a downed aircraft, in Kyiv. - Credit: AP

In recent times, this has had to be halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, volunteers from around the UK and in Waveney are working support people impacted by the current war in Ukraine.

It comes as volunteers in Lowestoft step up efforts to help with a couple also rallying up funds with a yard sale.

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Dennis Vystavkin, chief executive of Chernoby Children's Lifeline Charity is in direct contact with families, women and children in Ukraine. - Credit: Chernobyl Children's Lifeline Charity

Dennis Vystavkin, chief executive of the charity, said he and his volunteers were in constant contact with people living in the war zone.

"Myself and many of my volunteers haven't slept working to try and support the people of Ukraine," he said.

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"Talking to families on the ground virtually in and around Chernobyl, they haven't slept, they are crying out and praying that the bombing raids will stop.

"One woman told me how she went to fetch some water the other day, she looked up and a cruise missile was launched in the sky.

"We as a charity are now deeply involved with this escalating crisis and are working with other Ukrainian charities to try and find a safe passage for families, women and children into countries like Poland.

"These people are cold, wet and frightened.

"Their safety is our first priority and then it is about making sure they have the basic needs such as food, water and medicine."

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The charity are helping people to cross into other countries such as Poland. - Credit: AP

Mr Vystavkin added that while more should be done to support people in Ukraine, the current situation meant this was very difficult.

But changes to the government's Ukrainian refugee policy hope to address these issues.

He added: "The only way in which we can physically help is transferring money to the families we are in close contact with.

"Long term this war needs to deescalate as soon as possible and a reasonable solution found."

Donations to the charity can be made via its website or Facebook page.

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A refugee rests in a doorway after escaping the fighting in Ukraine. - Credit: AP