A Polish convoy of trucks transporting more than 70 tons of personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizers set off from Poland on Tuesday, May 26th and started its journey to the Western Balkans. The equipment, currently in very high demand, will be received by Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia.
The transport carried out by the Polish State Fire Service was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration and the Climate Ministry.
Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek emphasised that Poland has shown a great deal of international solidarity during the pandemic, with PPE also sent to Spain, Slovenia, Italy and the US.
The convoy to the Balkans was conducted within the framework of the NATO Assistance Scheme.
Chief Brigadier of the Fire Service Andrzej Bartkowiak told reporters "the plan is to take equipment to those in need as soon as possible”. He added that the convoy is expected to cover a distance of over 4,000 km in three or four days.
The Polish State Fire Service (PSP) has been sent out on multiple aid missions abroad in recent years and has gained a special standing among their foreign colleagues. In one of their largest operations in recent years, the PSP sent 139 firefighters and 44 fire trucks to Sweden in 2018 as the country struggled with containing the worst wildfires it had experienced in over a century.
Earlier this year, the PSP also transported 100,000 face masks and more than 70,000 litres of hand sanitizers to Belarus.