Delivery by airplane: Eichstätt aid campaign gets insulin to Ukraine

In cooperation with its partners, the KU has carried out a humanitarian aid operation for the people in Ukraine. 60,000 euros worth of insulin were transported to the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv. The batch will keep more than 5,000 diabetics going for one to two weeks. The KU was transported from Munich to the Ukrainian-Polish border on board a privately-owned plane. The University will keep collecting donations to do a second relief delivery.

One month ago, the KU in cooperation with the relief organization Support International and the Eastern  Church Seminary Collegium Orientale began to raise funds for its relief efforts. Right from the start, one main aim was to get medical aid to Ukraine. Support International and the KU are in close contact with Caritas Ukraine and the Catholic University in Lviv, a partner of the KU for many years. “Our partners in Ukraine have reported a great need of especially insulin,” says Dr. Martin Groos, office manager of the Chairman of the Foundation Council and a board member with Support International.  As a trained physician and pharmacist, Groos knows about the difficulties involved in transporting sensitive drugs. He points out that as a result of the challenging logistics, many aid organizations have not been able to deliver the insulin so important to diabetics. “Insulin must not get below freezing point, but does not withstand high temperatures, either. If a truck is en route too long or has to wait at the border on a sunny day, it would be fatal.”

For the KU and its partners, procuring such a large quantity also presented some difficulties, but eventually a solution was found with the Eichstätt pharmacy Gabrieli-Apotheke and a pharmacy in Erding. In view of the still low temperatures, the 21 cooler boxes and additional boxes with suitable hypodermic needles were initially meant to go by truck. But then, the aid organization “München hilft der Ukraine” was able to arrange air transport to the Polish-Ukrainian border at short notice.

As part of the initiative “Ukraine Air Rescue”, owners of small aircraft support relief efforts by volunteering their planes and their time as pilots to set up an air bridge for deliveries of relief supplies. Dirk Wember, a businessman from Trossingen, made his turboprop aircraft available for the insulin tranport of the Eichstätt relief campaign. He usually uses the plane to visit business clients of his grinder company “Haas Schleifmaschinen” throughout Europe. “If the opportunity arises, we also like to fly for charitable purposes. I am glad that we can make a small contribution to helping Ukraine in this way,” says Wember. At short notice, he first flew from Donaueschingen to Munich on Monday, where at the airfield near Oberschleißheim the passenger compartment was loaded to the roof with relief supplies before the plane took off again on to Rzeszow in southeastern Poland. The plane was met by a refrigerator truck arranged by the KU and took the insulin to Lviv, where it arrived safely half a day later. Petro Terletskyj, professor of Theology at the Ukrainian Catholic University, wrote in an e-mail: “Friendship shows itself in difficult situations; Solidarity is not just a word. Thank you on behalf of all patients in need. Every day, our need increases - there will be some difficult weeks ahead.”

“Medical care in the war and conflict zones is a major problem,” says Groos, who communicates almost daily with the Ukrainian partners. In this humanitarian emergency, every delivery of medication is but a drop in the ocean. That is why the KU, Support International and the Collegium Orientale want to go on raising funds. “As soon as we have the funds for a second transport, we will take medical goods to Ukraine again,” says Groos. What kind of medicines will be taken then, the team will decide at short notice according to acute requests. Besides medication for patients suffering from chronical illnesses, medication and equipment for emergency medicine might be needed.

KU President Gien hopes, that people will continue to donate as in the past weeks. “The news and images from Ukraine are getting more horrific every day. What is happening there now, is a humanitarian catastrophy. Our thoughts are with the people in Ukraine and we’re trying to help as much as possible. We’re very grateful for your support.”

Donations can be made to the account opened expressly for this relief effort by Support International e.V.:

Support International e.V.
Volksbank Freiburg
IBAN: DE32 6809 0000 0003 5025 11
Keyword: Medizinische Hilfe Ukraine

Support International e.V. was founded in 1990 and has a long-established experience with projects in refugee relief, such as in Lebanon, Iraq and on the island of Lesbos. The DZI-seal association also does work in education programs in Africa and the Middle East.

Collegium Orientale is an interconfessional college of the Bishopric of Eichstätt. Clergy and candidates for the priesthood of different Eastern Churches study at the KU. Currently, the city of Eichstätt is playing host to 30 young men from Ukraine.


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