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The two-year project "Disasters do not know borders" , which started in mid-April 2018, is aimed at strengthening the capacities of institutions from Montenegro and Albania who deal with protection and rescue services in order to reduce disaster risks. These institutions emphasise flood protection, as well as informing the population about the risks of floods. The project is funded by European Union.
This cross-border cooperation project is being implemented in Montenegro and Albania, and the main activities include the procurement of flood protection equipment, forecasting hydrometeorological conditions, training sessions for the representatives of the institutions and services dealing with protection and rescue services and the management of emergency situations, cross-border demonstration exercises, updating the flood database in the Skadar Lake region and many other.
Within the project, a cross-border demonstration exercise was held on the subject of protection and rescue missions in the event of a flood. During this exercise, 26 rescuers from Montenegro and Albania tested and demonstrated their readiness for flood rescues, especially in fast waters by using the Rescue 3 system.
"The experience we gained through this project and during the demonstration exercises means a lot to us. This was my second exercise in fast waters. We learned how to recognise the flow of water, how to determine locations where evacuation is possible, and many other useful tips. I would like to emphasise that during the exercises, there were six of us from Ulcinj, who significantly contributed to the construction of our capacities. I would also like to thank the instructors Josip Granic, Ivan Safradin, Rene Tonkli and Danijel Frleta, for doing all they could that we could have the chance to master new skills with success, "said Kadro Kurti, a representative from the Ulcinj Protection and Rescue Service.
The exercise was preceded by a four-day training with rescuers from two different countries. The training included a theoretical and practical part, during which the participants had the opportunity to learn from the Croatian mountain rescue instructors about modern methods of protection and rescue in case of floods and in fast waters. Participants who mastered the knowledge and skills taught during this type of training, received an internationally recognised Rescue 3 certificate.
"The overall impression was excellent. We have mastered new and useful skills. We have built a team spirit and teamwork. With colleagues from Albania, it seemed that there was no language barrier. During the exercise, we functioned as one team. In the end, we conducted a joint exercise with two teams and showed that we can work together in the situations for which we were preparing, "said Milos Bojovic, representative of the Protection and Rescue Service in Podgorica.
Improving cross-border cooperation in these areas is of great importance for both countries facing similar problems caused by natural disasters. The most important segment of the project is that floods do not know boundaries which represents a metaphor for the two countries who often face problems related to border issues - which in many situations can be better, and more effectively, resolved jointly. The project is implemented by FORS Montenegro, in partnership with the Directorate for Emergency Situations from the Montenegrin Ministry of Interior and the Skadar Prefecture from Albania. The European Union is financing the project within the Cross-border Cooperation Programme Montenegro - Albania 2014-2020.