From online doctors to Tesla's caravan: technology serving refugees from Ukraine

From online doctors to Tesla's caravan: technology serving refugees from Ukraine

From online doctors to Tesla's caravan

Warsaw - Solidarity with those fleeing the war remains a purely physical, muscular affair, between boxes to be moved and shelters to be prepared. But technology can play a role, not just by making contact with family members easier. In Poland, where two million refugees out of the three who have fled the war in Ukraine so far have arrived, Witold Wydmansky, a 24-year-old computer scientist from Katowice, has created in two days a platform that connects refugees with doctors who offer consultations. free.

One hundred and ten doctors enrolled so far, continuously increasing, fifteen thousand contacts estimated in two weeks. “My father is an oncologist - he tells - and he wanted to help out because he knew that many cancer patients have been forced to stop treatment because of the war. The Polish health system is ready to provide care to those who arrive, even if they are non-European citizens. But the sick could not wait to have an appointment as usually happens, given the emergency condition ".

" In short, we had doctors available, the problem was how to let them know. At this point I came into play, with what I do best ". Forty-eight hours of feverish work on Python, and the first version went online in Polish, Ukrainian and English. There are also twelve interpreters on the platform who take care of the translations. Foreign doctors will also bea> able to register in the next few hours (link here). There are many specialties, from gastroenterology to diabetology, from pediatric surgery to psychiatry. Because those who cross the border and are sorted in the cities also need support from a psychological point of view.

Desperation in the cities The Polish people have responded with an exceptional mobilization: private citizens book hotel rooms without showing up to offer them to refugees, the government - usually not friendly to migrants - offers financial support to those who hosts them at home. Someone has begun to enroll their children in school, a sign that the stay could be protracted.

"I think it depends on the fact that during the Second World War there were countries that helped us and others that didn't - continues Wydmansky - We want to be on the right side of history". "But refugee assistance is a marathon, not a sprint," observes one aid worker on the border. A potential time bomb triggered and ready to explode when the emotional impact has passed. With the reunification, the Ukrainians in Poland could become six million in a country of forty million inhabitants. A percentage capable of producing a shock in any economy. “We will have to adapt, of course - concludes Wydmansky -. There is solidarity, but I have already heard many skeptical voices ”.

From Italy to the border in Tesla to bring aid In Italy the flow of refugees, at the moment, is around fifty thousand people. Numbers not comparable to those of Warsaw, but which have triggered many solidarity initiatives. Among the most particular, the one organized by the Tesla Owners Italia club, made up of electric car owners from the house founded by Elon Musk. “We came into contact with the rector of the Lviv seminary, and together with him we planned to reach the border to bring medicines, medical supplies, food, all collected through our network of acquaintances”, says Luca Del Bo, president. A first caravan left last week and has already returned; the second will start from Milan on Friday 18 March. There will also be a three-kilowatt generator.

Stop at the supercharger in Trebownisko, Poland. Last stop before crossing the border with Ukraine (photo: Tesla Owners Club Italia)

From the Lombard capital to Przemyƛl, the last Polish outpost before entering Ukraine, they cover 3,300 kilometers there and back. We pass through Tarvisio, then Austria, the Czech Republic and, finally, Poland. Stops every three hours to recharge, about forty minutes connected to the network and off, back in the car. "Upon arrival, after the control procedures which can last several hours, the aid is unloaded quickly. And on our return we offered the willingness to give a lift to those who were headed to Italy. With the first trip we brought twelve people ". Del Bo continues.

“I wanted to be useful, to do something practical - Luca Bona, 43, entrepreneur from Turin, tells So, when I heard about the club's initiative, I joined immediately, also because they had organized everything ". Including refueling, carried out in turns at the charging stations on the basis of a plan that takes into account the autonomy of each vehicle.

The return trip with a refugee family (photo: Tesla Owners Club Italia) “The authorities of the countries we crossed do not charge us the toll”, continues Bona. Tesla, for his part, offers the full in Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. It should be noted that the association is not linked to the US brand. “A top-up costs around thirty euros, and for the round trip we can estimate around six, for a total of around two hundred euros per vehicle,” says Bona. The procedure to take advantage of the bonus is completely digital: the owners simply communicated the Vin (Vehicle Identification Number) to the club, which took care of transmitting it to the parent company. This is enough for the Supercharger system to recognize the cars and deliver electricity for free.

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