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Logistics help children and the elderly

By 1st Lt. Luis Sánchez
First published in
SFOR Informer#123, October 3, 2001

Two trucks departed from Mostar-Ortijes to perform an unusual logistic delivery. This time there wouldn't be any troops waiting for them. An orphanage and a refuge home, both multicultural institutions, received two containers full of donations from the Spanish Logistic Unit. The humanitarian help focused on the needy with the help from the Spanish City of Palencia.

Mostar - For years, SFOR soldiers have been co-operating in humanitarian and charity programmes throughout all Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Numerous actions have been taken by individuals and by units. The Spanish National Support Element (SNSE XVIII), a battalion-size unit, delivered two truck's containers, on Sept.17. The unit's usual mission is to provide all the logistic support to the Spanish SFOR troops.
Thanks to the godfather
Traditionally a Spanish City acts as a godfather to this unit. In this case it is Palencia (a town in the north-centre of Spain, near the unit's home barracks). The town tries to help BiH locals, channeling its help through the troops. A group of volunteer soldiers visited Mostar's institutions to get to know first hand what was needed and for whom. The items that were collected from its inhabitants and locals firms were sent to the city hall. Finally, two containers arrived by ship to Ploce's harbour (Croatia), Sept. 10. In addition the unit added a lot of food parcels.
"We thought that the best option was to give the help to these organisations, we know what they need. We have the means and with the support of the City of Palencia we would be able to transform wishes into reality," stated Lt. Col. Joaquin Herrero Ibañez, logistic unit commander. "This kind of action doesn't mean any extra charge for the unit and is provided fully to the satisfaction to the co-operating staff," he added.
Multicultural institutions
Smiling children received SFOR soldiers. They knew that the heavy lorry's container parked outside was full of much needed items, such as children clothes, food, blankets, cleaning materials and even toys. The orphanage "Mostar" has 38 children, from 3 to 18. Its director Camil Ramic commented: "this help means a lot to us. We have received help in the past from SFOR soldiers, they are the only ones who go on supporting us and don't forget us." An assistant added, "The children received bad treatment from local military staff during the war, now they see SFOR soldiers as friends and are regaining their confidence, an important psychological step."
The whole process was repeated in one of Mostar's refuge homes, where 74 elderly persons live, and where sometimes displaced persons are placed while waiting to repossess their pre-war home. Under persistent rain soldiers and the home's staff unloaded the container: clothes, cleaning material, food, sheets and blankets, useful things to help deal with their daily life.
This operation has already finished, but soldiers from SNSE XVIII will not forget to continue helping poor locals with ongoing charity actions. When finishing their tour in BiH they will pass the baton to the next logistic contingent.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Spain
Humanitarian Aid