Anchorage humanitarian group brings aid to Ukrainian refugees in Romania

Anchorage humanitarian group brings aid to Ukrainian refugees in Romania.
Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 7:21 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - An Anchorage humanitarian organization, Mobile Medics International, is flying to Romania to support Ukrainian refugees suffering from the Russian invasion of their country.

For many of the millions of people fleeing from Ukraine, Romania has become a major stop-off point over the border. It is there that Teresa Gray and a small team of volunteer medics will spend the next two weeks providing potentially lifesaving aid to refugees.

For Gray and her small team, the idea of being near a war zone is not something they take lightly.

“I’m nervous for my team. I’m apprehensive,” Gray said. “I’m heartbroken that we are having to do this response within Europe and that these people are fleeing their homes. The truth is, a refugee is a refugee is a refugee. It doesn’t matter what country they’ve come from or what language they speak. They’ve lost everything, including their country.”

This mission is far from the first for Gray. Her first taste of humanitarian work started when she helped with the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015. It was then that she noticed a need for small teams to be able to get to remote pockets no one else can reach. In 2017 she started Mobile Medics International. She said the word “mobile” is on purpose.

“We can take helicopters in, we’ve taken donkeys in, we’ve taken boats in,” she said. “Whatever it is we need to do to get to that little group of — you know that little pod of people who’ve sort of been trapped or stranded ... we’re mobile, so that’s what we specialize in.”

Other missions in Haiti, Columbia, and Venezuela have prepared Gray for this upcoming trip, although she says it’s unusual to do a mission in Europe. Gray and her team are going because of the heartbreaking human toll of war.

“My hope would be that we’d never have to do anything like this, that there wouldn’t be a need for it,” she said. “But there is a need for it.”

Mobile Medics is flight ready, leaving at 11 p.m. Wednesday with bags packed and nearly overflowing with supplies they gathered over the last month. They plan to use their supplies of medications, food, and other provisions to operate their pop-up clinic in Romania.

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