Sunday 15 May 2022 11:13 PM The secret hospital train saving wounded Ukrainians from the frontline of ... trends now
From the outside, the blue and yellow carriages are indistinguishable from the dozens of Soviet-era trains transporting millions of refugees fleeing war-ravaged regions of Ukraine.
But that is entirely on purpose. For this is a medical train carrying a cargo even more vulnerable to Russia’s air strikes on the country’s railways.
On board are innocent children, women and pensioners badly wounded by bullets and bomb blasts during Vladimir Putin’s deadly assault on their oncepeaceful homes and villages.
The Daily Mail joined the train last week as it pulled into a secret location on the outskirts of Lviv, where dozens of paramedics were waiting on the platform in the spring sunshine.
A sense of hope and relief lingered in the air. Finally, after an arduous 24-hour journey covering 700 miles, exhausted patients bearing horrific injuries were hurriedly removed from the train, loaded on to stretchers and wheelchairs, placed into ambulances and whisked to nearby hospitals for life-saving care.
Ukraine’s government says the Russian military has killed or injured tens of thousands of civilians since its invasion began in late February.
The Kremlin denies targeting civilians, but hospitals are struggling to cope with the huge volume of war-wounded people in the east of the country.
This is why the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) has come up with a remarkable solution of laying on a medical train to evacuate them to the relative safety of Lviv.
Train intended to transfer patients from hospitals close to frontlines in the east to hospitals in the west of Ukraine. This medicalised train has been developed by Medicins Sans Frontieres in collaboration with Ukrainian Railways and the ministry of health
Teams of tireless, brave medics work around the clock caring for the passengers amid the constant threat of Russian air strikes.
The train has saved around 400 people since it began running last month, with each passenger representing another free bed in hospitals close to the frontline.
‘We have never done anything like this before,’ said Christopher Stokes, British leader of the charity’s emergency teams in Ukraine.
‘I don’t think medicalised trains have been used since the Second World War.’ Mr Stokes explains how the eight carriages were transformed in just three weeks, repurposed into a state-of-the-art moving hospital. Five intensive care unit beds were installed.
There are two carriages of eight-bed wards and another to transport the walking wounded and family members.
One of the hospital