Exploring nature is an essential part of human nature. The Covid-19 pandemic seems to have only amplified this urge with ever more people going hiking or mountain biking. But exploring nature also requires safety – especially when it comes to adrenalin sports. The EU has been helping create safe conditions for the growing number of visitors of the Ohrid region who are into adventure tourism. Among which, having trained rescue staff is vital.
Back in 2017, under a cross-border cooperation project with Albania, the EU financed the construction of a new building of the Red Cross training center in Ohrid. The goal was to provide proper training conditions for the young locals willing to engage in the noble profession of rescuing. And thus contribute to making the Lake Ohrid cross border region a safe destination for adventure tourists.
The construction was completed two years later, along with the procurement of equipment to ensure quick response in every situation. So far, 92 people have completed the training course – 52 of them are now certified mountain rescuers and 40 water life guards. The rescuers with the best performance were further trained to become instructors. As a result, the centre is now fully operational – for rescue services in mountain (from Ohrid) and in water (from Pogradec, Albania).
According to Antonio Dodevski, head of the Mountain Rescue Service, the rescuers have saved more than 40 lives in over 100 rescue operations.
“I would single out the evacuation of an injured paraglider from a steep rocky area of Mount Galichica. After giving him first aid – stopping his heavy bleeding and immobilising him, the rescue team performed a complex evacuation and transport procedure to a medical centre. This operation ended successfully thanks to the readiness and effectiveness of the rescuers and the modern equipment procured under the cross-border cooperation projects financed by the EU”, says Dodevski.
To ensure the safety of tourists round the clock, a new SOS line has been established. And various events and workshops have been organised to promote the centre and to attract more young people to the internationally certified training programme.
Source: Delegation of the European Union to North Macedonia website