On 16 September 2017, the peak of Pip Ivan (2,028 m) in the Eastern Carpathians mountain range saw the inauguration of Ukraine’s first high-altitude mountain rescue station. Its staff will be able to help tourists around the clock.
“Support for public security, and civil protection are among the priorities of Poland’s development cooperation with Ukraine, a country that’s one of the major beneficiaries of Polish aid with the annual allocation of close to EUR 25 million,” emphasized Marek Kubierski, Deputy Director of the MFA Department of Development Cooperation, which has coordinated and co-financed the scheme.
The mountain rescue station has been set up as part of a project aimed at rebuilding Chornohora observatory. In August 2016, it became the seat of the Yavirnyk Mountain Search and Rescue Unit, which is part of the State Emergency Service in Ivano-Frankivsk. The facility is situated at an elevation of over 2,000 m, which makes it unique across Ukraine (other Carpathian rescue facilities are located in valley villages), and cuts short the duration of rescue operations. The Polish aid programme has financed the refurbishment of station premises (staff rooms, consultation and medical point, kitchenette), as well as the installation of thermal insulation, electrical system and heating system. A water intake was prepared and windows fitted in. One of the rooms was converted into a garage for rescue vehicles that the station will receive from the Bieszczady Team of Mountain Volunteer Search and Rescue (GOPR).
There were also other Polish organizations which helped to set up the station. These included the Bieszczady GOPR Team, which trained rescuers, and the province of Podkarpacie, which provided equipment (e.g. a snowmobile). The province of Małopolska and private sponsors also delivered additional equipment.
The inauguration was attended by Poland’s Deputy Minister of the Interior and Administration Jakub Skiba, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Education and Science Roman Greba, as well as Catholic, Greek Catholic and Orthodox clergy. Among the participants were also the initiators of the observatory’s reconstruction, i.e. the Director of the University of Warsaw’s Centre for East European Studies Jan Malicki, and the Rector of Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University in Ivano-Frankivsk Igor Tsependa. The event could not have been held without those who had a direct hand in the project, including representatives of the Polish Embassy in Kyiv, the International Association of Polish Entrepreneurs in Ukraine, and the Marshal Office in Rzeszow.
The following Polish aid projects co-funded by the MFA Department of Development Cooperation have contributed to establishing the Chornohora mountain rescue station:
- “Modernization of Chornohora mountain rescue station” (2016, grant value: EUR 29,568) and “Development of Chornohora mountain rescue station” (2017, grant value: EUR: 21,131) – project of the Polish Embassy in Kyiv
- “Enhancing the competences and operational potential of emergency services in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast with respect to mountain rescue, and preventing and eliminating the effects of floods” (2016, grant value: PLN 239,979) and “Upgrading the emergency management system of Ivano-Frankivsk oblast by enhancing the operational capabilities and competences of rescue services with respect to avalanche rescue and rescue operations with the use of rope techniques (2017, grant value: PLN 278,775) – project of Podkarpacie province.