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Ambulance before the start in Germany. By LOG/WoH for North Macedonia. In Kicevo (from left), the head of the emergency service department Dr. Xhabir Bajrami, the chief physician of the hospital Dr. Qemal Obraimi and LOG/WoH President Frank Franke.

Poor region in the Balkans receives emergency car from Germany

Luftfahrt ohne Grenze/Wings of Help organizes ambulance for North Macedonia – Once stationed at the Nürburgring

Hardly any other country in the Balkans has such a weak infrastructure as North Macedonia: The country, which is a candidate for accession to the EU, suffers from its extremely poorly developed infrastructure – especially in the field of medicine. While the care in the capital Skopje with its approximately 500,000 inhabitants is improving, people in the countryside are suffering from a lack of medical help. This is particularly evident in the district town of Kicevo, which has 25,000 inhabitants and is located in the mountainous west of North Macedonia. There is a hospital there for medical emergencies, but many patients have to be taken to the hospital in the capital, 150 kilometers away, after first aid. A long way, on which many people have already died – for example because they came to Skopje in private cars.

Luftfahrt ohne Grenzen/Wings of Help (LOG/WoH) has now pointed out this emergency to a REWE store in the Hessian Taunus, whose store manager comes from this region of North Macedonia. In addition to humanitarian projects, for which LOG/WoH and REWE are involved, the need for an ambulance was also discussed. After an intensive search, LOG/WoH has now bought a used ambulance vehicle and had it prepared at its own expense for the trip to the North Macedonian mountains. After a journey of almost 2,000 kilometers, the ambulance has now reached Kicevo, where it was handed over to the local hospital by LOG-WoH President Frank Franke. “We are pleased that our ambulance vehicle will improve the infrastructure marginally, but still efficiently in many individual cases. The vehicle had done a good job in previous years – namely at the Nürburgring in the Eifel, where it was permanently available for emergencies of all kinds along the race track. Our search for a suitable ambulance has come to a happy end – to the benefit of the population in this part of the small Balkan country.”

Video: Arrival of the ambulance in Kicevo

Flood disaster in the Ahr Valley – one year later: Many wounds have not healed

Luftfahrt ohne Grenzen/Wings of Help hands over more relief supplies

On the anniversary of the flood disaster in the Ahr Valley, many questions remain unanswered: Aid funds have not been paid out, applications have been processed only slowly, and the infrastructure is still suffering badly. The victims of the catastrophe are worried about the approaching winter. Luftfahrt ohne Grenzen/Wings of Help (LOG/WoH) e.V. based at Frankfurt Airport, which has already sent 18 commercial vehicles with relief supplies to the Ahr Valley - including eleven articulated trucks - has organized another truck transport to the flooded area. LOG/WoH has now handed over two power generators, an urgently needed lift truck, large quantities of disinfectants and some augers to the Bad Bodendorf volunteer fire brigade, such as those used for planting in the region where wine and fruit grow. “Luftfahrt ohne Grenzen/Wings of Help has never come to the Ahr Valley empty-handed in all the past months. We have always analyzed the situation and needs and, with the help of the highly committed fire brigades, we have been able to act non-bureaucratically - and also initiated international help," said Frank Franke, LOG/WoH President, in Bad Bodendorf.

Immediately after the dramatic tidal wave, which cost the lives of almost 150 people and caused damage in the three-digit billion Euro range, LOG brought around 400 tons of aid material to the Ahr Valley with semitrailer trucks and several vans. The targeted aid items included mineral water, water canisters for individual filling, cleaning agents, baby food and hygiene items.

The organization had also bought several hundred electrical devices such as rotary hammers, high-pressure cleaners, room dryers, chisels, all of which are independently and individually battery operated. LOG/WoH has lent these tools to the affected families on a temporary basis via the well-connected fire brigades on the Ahr. After use, they returned the tools to the fire brigades for further challenges. The control center is the volunteer fire brigade in Bad Bodendorf, which works well with the other fire brigades in the 80-kilometer-long Ahr Valley.

The campaign with the e-tools was made possible, among other things, by the cooperation with the IMC, the International Medical Corps from the USA. This global humanitarian US organization, one of the major international LOG/WoH partners, had not forgotten the help from Germany that our country provided for the New Orleans region 17 years ago when hurricane Katrina hit the south of the US on the Gulf dramatically devastated.

Caption: LOG/WoH cooperate closely together in the Ahr River Valley. 

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