On 14 September 2018, a training programme for Ukrainian mountain rescuers was concluded in the Bieszczady Mountains with the hand-over of a quad bike and a trailer. For one week, eight rescuers from the Pip Ivan station in the Eastern Carpathians honed their skills in medical rescue and improved their techniques of transporting the injured. Thanks to the equipment they have been presented with, they will be able to utilize and enhance their new expertise in their daily work in the difficult mountain conditions.
The equipment was handed over at a ceremony during the Carpathian Days of Good Neighbourliness in the village of Lutowiska. MFA Undersecretary of State Bartosz Cichocki, who took part in the event, said that he welcomed actions taken by the province of Podkarpacie in support of Ukraine’s emergency management system, local governments, and entrepreneurship. In response, Marshal Władysław Ortyl said, “I want to thank the ministry for its financial support. We do have memoranda and agreements, but without financial instruments we would struggle to implement them.”
The training was one of the measures the province of Podkarpacie and the Bieszczady Team of Mountain Volunteer Search and Rescue (GOPR) have been carrying out for three years to support rescuers from Ukraine’s Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. The scheme helped to make Ukrainian firefighters more effective, and contributed to establishing Ukraine’s first high-altitude mountain rescue station. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs financed the project under Poland’s development cooperation programme with a grant of close to PLN 850,000.
It should be noted that enhancing the capacity to prevent, reduce the risk of and react to emergencies is a priority of Polish Aid to Ukraine. The measures are aimed at setting up a system of volunteer fire brigades, and working together with the emergency service, police and the border guard. Poland has participated in establishing the first high-altitude mountain rescue station, and in road rescue training. In the last five years of Poland’s development cooperation alone, around 30 public safety projects have been implemented in Ukraine totalling nearly PLN 8.5 million.