Shooters from across Europe are supporting refugees. The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation is mobilising its members and partners to help people who are taking refuge in Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania. Local hunting associations are setting up food distribution centres near the borders. The CIC is donating game meat, equipment, and materials.
Hunters in Germany have joined forces together to rescue refugees from Ukraine. Chris Scheibe is leading the drive to collect people from the border in Poland and bring them back to Hanover. He says seeing the news of the Russian invasion and the escalating number of refugees prompted him to act. He says: “We came across this crisis here like everybody else. You know, everybody was frustrated. You’re looking at your television. You don’t know what to do. You’re just coming out of this COVID thing and into the next crisis. And this time we can you can do something.
“We came across one of our properties, which has been rented to the city of Braunschweig and in it there is a lot of apartments for children and mothers who are refugees. Unfortunately, they weren’t full. So, when we asked them why they weren’t filling them up with refugees from Ukraine, they told me they weren’t responsible, and they weren’t seeing any refugees. So I thought I can go and find some, which is what we did.”
Christopher is leading convoys of vehicles to Poland to bring back refugees to Germany. He says: “So we took the first reconnaissance tour to the border. I personally went to the Polish Ukrainian border, which is basically just a thousand kilometre highway ride from Germany where we are.
“Arriving at the border Christopher and volunteers said it was a shock. He said ‘It’s quite dramatic. Some of the refugees who are there don’t want to go to Germany. They’ve been told that they’re supposed to be organ donors. Or that we have some other purposes of taking them into prostitution or we’re killing their children. Now, this is war propaganda, we know how that goes.
“We’ve created a little bit of trust with the local aids at the border, and they’re helping us to find the people who want to go to Germany with us.”
Christopher’s aim wasn’t taking aid to the border it was to rescue refugees. He says one of the differences with his mission is that they have properties waiting for refugees back in Germany. He says: “We’ve had a tremendous number of apartments offered to us. We’ve gone through the hunting associations; we’ve gone through the fire departments and the local football clubs. In the villages, people have more room than in the city, so and they’re very willing to help out with their old mother-in-law apartment or other available spaces in their houses.”
In just a week, Christopher has secured 90 properties which he’s filling up with refugees. He says: ”What we’re now doing is we’re filling them up the apartments with refugees. We go to the border; we pick them up and we go back to Germany. We don’t drop them off at the next sports arena, but we actually drop them off in a home where they can stay, which is fully furnished.”
More than a million and a half refugees have fled Ukraine. Christopher says it’s very difficult as many people have traumatic experiences. He says: “It’s a lot of mothers with children. There’s almost no men coming. As a result, everybody’s very worried. We’ve had one woman who was walking for four days over the mountains with four children And, we’ve had another woman where her husband was injured in the war. So, there was a lot of worries. He seems to be doing okay. But that’s been the issues that we’re dealing with.”
Once the refugees get back to Hanover Christopher and his supporters are able to help them get settled. He says: “Germany has apparently learned from the last crisis. The refugees are declared as refugees on day one if they come from Ukraine. So, they don’t have to go home through the whole process of asylum. They don’t need a visa. They can stay for 90 days. Within those 90 days they can apply for their permanent status, and they can technically start working if their circumstances allow.
“So, they don’t have to wait for round for months and years to get accredited as an asylum seeker. They have a war or refugee status, and they can come.”
Christopher is doing several trips a week to the border to rescue refugees. He says more people are joining him too. On the last trip there eight vehicles. Christopher is encouraging anyone who can to help the refuges to support them in any way possible.
What the fieldsports community is doing to help Ukraine
- CIC has organised food from hunters across Europe, delivered to the borde with Ukraine. Click here to donate to the CIC effort
- The Angling Trust has kicked out Belarusian and Russian anglers.
- In the USA, NASCAR racing legend Richard Childress is donating a million rounds of ammuition to the Ukrainian defence forces.
More of our coverage from Ukraine
by Deborah Hadfield Hunters and shooters are still fighting for their lives in Ukraine. Taras Oliynyk works for local gunshop IBIS Hunting and Guns in