A former Hawke's Bay man who delivers aid to war zones says the destruction in parts of Ukraine has been "an eye-opener even by our standards" after spending six weeks in the war-torn country.
Mike Seawright is the founder of charity ReliefAid which provides help to people living in countries impacted by war.
He has just returned home to New Zealand after spending six weeks in Ukraine setting up an aid operation.
"We have built up an operation which is now delivering shelter materials to families across the country, medical supplies to hospitals, and food to families having trouble accessing food in those hot spot [areas]."
Seawright started his charity ReliefAid in 2015 following years working for various humanitarian organisations, such as Doctors Without Borders and even as a delegate representing New Zealand in Afghanistan.
He said he saw a need to supply more aid directly into conflict zones, which were often considered too dangerous to access.
"I [wanted] to fill a gap and try to help families in these really difficult places to go," he said, of establishing ReliefAid.
The charity which is registered in New Zealand has now grown to about 45 staff and volunteers and provides support in Syria, Afghanistan and, as of last month, Ukraine.
"Just before Christmas we reached a major milestone - we have provided humanitarian support to over 250,000 people," he said.
"That is in three war zones primarily in Syria."
Seawright said he crossed the border from Romania into Ukraine mid-March to see if he could set up an aid operation, and was met by "thousands of people and kilometres of cars" going the other way.
He visited some of the worst impacted parts of the country, including Bucha, during his time making partnerships and setting up their operation to help the Ukrainian people.
"Bucha was an eye-opener even by our standards - the level of destruction was immense.
"It was an hour of travelling through continuous destruction."
Four truckloads of shelter material, such as blankets, tarpaulins and solar lamps, have already been delivered into the country through ReliefAid (and partners ShelterBox) and a further 14 truckloads are scheduled to enter in the next few weeks.
Seawright helped organise a warehouse in Kyiv to distribute supplies from.
Seawright, who grew up near Hastings but lives in Auckland while not working overseas, is currently on holiday with his family but plans to return to Ukraine in two weeks' time.
He thanked all those Kiwis who were donating money to help the people of Ukraine.
His father, who has the same name, Mike Seawright, still lives in Hawke's Bay and is part of Freemasons Lodge Haeata who have been raising funds to support ReliefAid.
"The lodge has been amazing. It is symbolic of New Zealand's concern for Ukraine at the moment," the ReliefAid founder said.
Freemasons Lodge Haeata recently donated $500 to the cause and have encouraged others to also donate.
Seawright said any funds raised would likely go toward scaling up the amount of food and medical supplies being distributed on the ground in Ukraine.
To donate click here or visit reliefaid.org.nz and click on Ukraine Appeal.