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The Board of the Ukrainian Youth Association (CYM) Melbourne with great sadness informs its members, friends and the wider community that we have this evening received the information we were hoping not here. We have tonight received confirmation, and the first photo, of the destruction of our Oselya in the fires that have ravaged Victoria in recent days. For many days since the devastating fires began in the Narbethong/Buxton/Marysville area on Saturday 7th February, we have been waiting in anticipation for any news. We always feared the worst, but remained hopeful, even at time optimistic, that our Oselya was spared. Alas, that was not to be the case. From the photo we can see that the “old kitchen” has been totally destroyed, as have our tractors. The trees in the background are blackened. From the report we are also told that each of the other building has also been partially or fully destroyed. Only when we see the pictures or see it with our eyes, we will all truly appreciate what has happened, and also probably truly appreciate what we had.

In 1963, the Ukrainian Youth Association Melbourne purchased the property that was to become our Australian Karpaty (in reference to the majestic Carpathian Mountain range in Ukraine). Over the years Oselya Karpaty has hosted many local, national and even international youth camps. Over those years thousands and thousands of youth have been a part of those camps. These children have run around the grounds, swam in the Acheron River or in the lake, or simply sat back and enjoyed the summer nights around a vatra (camp fire). We all hold fond memories of those days. They are very dear to all that have been a part of it. With time, we will once again rebuild our Oselya so that our children can continue to enjoy tabir (camp) just as their parents and even grandparents did. To many it was their second home.

At this stage, we still remain unsure as to when we will be allowed access to fully assess the extent of the damage. We will also keep you updated with any more news, and any plans that will be put in place.

The Board thanks all those within the wider community for their support & concern. It is a difficult time for us, but we need to also remember those around us who have suffered far more than we have. Many of our friends and acquaintances within the communities around our Oselya have been impacted far worse than us. Many have lost their lives, many more have lost their loved ones, and we still have many out their fighting the fires to try and minimise further devastation. We ask each of you to remember our friends in your prayers.

CYM Melbourne Appeal to help our locals continues

As per our previous communications the appeal to help the locals of our community has not stopped. We are truly overwhelmed by the offers of assistance that have come from the wider Community. We have had offers of people wanting to help pack the trucks, sort through donated items and offers to drive the trucks into Alexandra. We have also had generous offers of assistance and donations from the Ukrainian community interstate.

People within our community, and those from the organisations we are directly dealing with, have made some excellent suggestions of items that can be donated. We would really appreciate the following items: Nappies, Baby Wipes, Female Sanitary Products, Body Lotions, Soaps, Shampoos, Toothpaste, Toothbrushes, nail files, nail clippers, unused make up, new underwear. Non perishable goods, ie tinned foods, dog food, cat food, can openers, blankets, bed linen.

In relation to donations of clothing, we have found that there is a shortage of girls clothing size 2-9. We have had many donations of other clothing now, and would ask that clothing donations now be limited. This excludes the people who have already contacted us and have arranged a time to drop these items off. Please understand that there are only so many second hand clothing items we can deliver.

Further donations should now need to be delivered to the home of Nicky & Andrea Ckuj. Please call or email to arrange a drop off time, and for other details.

Nick Ckuj 0414 260 195
Andrea Ckuj 0412 918 393
Ckuj Home: 9354 4494

Please remember, that we do not want items that are torn, broken, stained. These people have endured such an horrific event.

Once again, thank you to you all.
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