Cross-border projects are not just indicators, budgets, reports and payments. Although they are inseparable elements of every project, each project hides above all the specific ideas, values and dreams of people implementing them, as well as the stories of those who benefited from their implementation.
We want to bring some of them closer to you by the "Project stories" - the cycle which will present this more human (but also animal - as in the 1st episode) dimension of our selected projects. We invite you to read.
A clear May day tempted to wander. Especially since Gorgany is one of the most beautiful and wildest ranges of the Ukrainian Carpathians. So, Natalia decided to go alone into the mountains, because in the Polish West Pomerania, where she lives on a daily basis, there are no such landscapes ... She chose the Chomiak Pass and the Siniak mountain which is 1665 meters high. Everything went well until on the summit she sprained her ankle . She tried to return along the same route, but she got lost in the dwarf mountain pine, and the day began to shift towards the end ... Luck in misfortune, she found the mobile network coverage and she called her boyfriend in Poland, and he then informed the Bieszczady Group of the Mountain Volunteer Search and Rescue (GOPR). It was already after 8 pm. The Polish rescuers sent a link to the "RATUNEK" („RESCUE”) application to the Natalia's phone number. After several attempts to search for coverage, she managed to install it. From that moment, the rescuers, although stationed in Poland, were able to determine her location in Ukraine with an accuracy of up to several meters.
But how to help when being on the other side of the border, hundreds of kilometers from the missing girl? The decision was made quickly: - "We have to call Ukrainian rescuers!", with whom the Bieszczady Group of GOPR has been cooperating for 3 years. The response was also immediate - two Ukrainian teams set out from Jaremcza and Worochta. When they arrived, it was already 1:25 at night, and before they could bring the victim down it was 5:20 in the morning. The girl, dressed by the hosts, returned happily to Poland.
The accident was real, we only changed the tourist's name. There are several such accidents in the Polish Bieszczady Mountains and the Ukrainian part of the Carpathians, because there are more and more tourists who want to get to know this part of Europe. In many places, these wild, vast mountains pass through national borders, which makes search and rescue operations a real challenge. To grapple with this, it is necessary to create, train and cooperate with the entire network of emergency services in both countries.
The Polish-Ukrainian mountain rescue system in a great part is being created thanks to the support of the Cross-border Cooperation Programme Poland-Belarus-Ukraine 2014-2020. One of the key projects currently implemented by rescuers from both sides of the border is the „S.O.S. – Rescue - the Training Center for Organizing and Operating Cross-border Rescue Actions" project. The project value is over 1.86 MEUR, including EU funding of almost 1.68 MEUR.
For this amount, a center will be built in the adapted building of a former school in Równia near Ustrzyki Dolne (The Bieszczady Mountains), where rescuers from both countries will train. A coordination center will be created there, a GOPR duty office, modern equipped training and simulation rooms for medical and rescue training. There will also be a place for the regeneration of the rescuers and care for victims. An operational vehicle to coordinate operations in the mountains, medical, avalanche, evacuation equipment, and even specialized clothing, electric bicycles and 2 drones with a thermal imaging camera will be purchased.