TIJUANA (Border Report) — Inna Levien has been driving from Orange County down to Tijuana almost on a daily basis since last week — that’s a two-hour commute each way not counting the hours spent waiting to cross the border.
She’s been doing it out of love for Ukrainian migrants staying at a shelter in Tijuana.
Levien is coordinating about 40 medical volunteers who are giving up their spare time to perform check-ups and other routine medical services on the immigrants.
“We’re just a group of volunteers who showed up last week knowing there might be some need,” said Levien. “We just want to help and provide comfort and relief and help as much as we can.”
Levien says most migrants are stressed, and their immune systems are compromised.
“We constantly have people, especially kids, with cough problems, trouble breathing, some have forgotten their medications and need refills, or some have just had a procedure done and need a follow-up,” she said.
Levien said some of the most common problems with the migrants are intestinal issues, vomiting, overheating, dehydration and sunburn.
“We even have pregnancies but if we see complications we expedite that person through the border,” she said.
Levien says the volunteer medical staff puts in long hours to the point of exhaustion.
“We even had one person who experienced a panic attack, we are working so hard that at the end of the day we just collapse.”
Levien said they will continue working at the shelter as long as it remains open.