Road To Relief NGO Director Emma Igual Becomes First Spanish Woman To Die In Ukrainian Conflict

Image of Emma Igual from Road to Relief.

Image of Emma Igual from Road to Relief. Credit: Twitter@road2relief

THE director of ‘Road to Relief’ has become the first Spanish woman to lose their life in the Ukrainian conflict.

According to a report on the NGO’s website this Sunday, September 10, Emma Igual was killed yesterday when a Russian shell hit the vehicle she was travelling in.

At the time of the tragic incident, she was on her way from Sloviansk to Bakhmut to assess the needs of civilians caught in the crossfire in the town of Ivanivske.

As reported by the NGO, the vehicle ‘overturned and caught fire’. Three other volunteers were travelling with 32-year-old Emma Igual at the time.

The Canadian volunteer Anthony “Tonko” Ihnat has also been confirmed to have died in the blast. Swedish national Johan Mathias Thyr, and Ruben Mawick, a German medic, were seriously injured with shrapnel wounds and burns. They are said to be in stable condition in separate hospitals, according to

The attack was confirmed by José Manuel Albares

José Manuel Albares, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, also reported today that he had received ‘verbal confirmation’ that a Spanish aid worker had been killed in an attack.

Emma Igual co-founded Road to Relief, a humanitarian organisation that is registered in Ukraine, in March 2022, shortly after the conflict in Ukraine broke out. 

It was set up with the objective of providing humanitarian aid to the towns and villages closest to the front line. Road to Relief focused on the evacuation and healing of the wounded in the areas most affected by the Russian invasion.

The Catalan female was previously described as a brave and committed person by those who knew and worked with her, according to a report from TVE.

Josep Borrell, the EU Vice President of Diplomacy tweeted: ‘Earlier today the NGO @road2relief came under Russian attack in Donetsk oblast. A Spanish and a Canadian humanitarian worker were killed, while delivering much-needed humanitarian assistance to local population. Humanitarian workers are #NotaTarget’.

The NGO evacuated ‘around 1,300 people’

Speaking a few months ago with the news outlet, Igual revealed that during the ‘first year or so’, her organisation had evacuated ‘about 1,300 people’.

This total included approximately 650 children she pointed out, plus another 300 with disabilities, adding: ‘All civilians and many wounded’.

On May 9, photojournalist Alfons Cabrera shared a preview on his X account (formerly called Twitter), of a report he had made about the 14 months that Igual had spent in Ukraine.

He explained: ‘A few days ago I went to the front with a medical team that treats old people who don’t want to leave their homes. They are @road2relief, an NGO founded by Emma Igual, a Catalan who has been in Ukraine for 14 consecutive months going to the front every day. Soon you will be able to read the chronicle of the day, God willing. A breakthrough’.

Road to Relief was created in March 2022

‘Road to Relief is a Ukrainian-registered humanitarian NGO created in March 2022 with the purpose of helping the civilian population most affected by the Russian invasion’, explains the ‘About Us’ section on the Road to Relief website.

It continues: ‘We are active in Donetsk and Kherson oblasts, serving a total of 112 villages with a combined population of over 30,000 people’.

Video footage shared on the website shows the organisation’s work in two of the regions most affected by the Ukrainian conflict.

Numerous videos of the altruistic work of the organisation can also be seen on the social networks of the NGO Road to Relief. It uses a van to transport medical supplies to treat civilians on the front lines of the fighting.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at


    • concha

      10 September 2023 • 23:52

      RIP – DEP – Emma Igual y Anthony “Tonko” Ihnat. We honor and praise your sacrifice. We pray for your families and loved ones <3
      Putin must never be allowed to prevail

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