EU thanks Norway for assistance in medevac operations

The EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, and the Norwegian Minister of Health and Care Services, Ingvild Kjerkol, were given a tour of various aircraft being used in the medical evacuation of patients from Ukraine during Mr Lenarčič’s visit to Oslo on Monday 5 June.

The EU Commissioner and the minister exit a medevac aircraft
The EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, and the Norwegian Minister of Health and Care Services, Ingvild Kjerkol exit a SAS medical aircraft

"I wish to thank Norway for continuing to be one of the most active and reliable members of EU Civil Protection Mechanism – the mechanism that fuels European solidarity into action. Since last year, Norway has also had a fundamental role in EU’s operation of evacuating Ukrainian patients to hospitals across Europe and I am confident that we will continue to see the dedicated and highly professional assistance of Norway’s civil protection teams anywhere else in Europe and beyond."

Tre medisinske evakueringsfly
Three different medical aircrafts

He was shown three different aircraft and a specialist ambulance: the SAS aircraft which is being used for the evacuation of patients from Ukraine; the RescEU aircraft being used to transport those patients with high risk infections across Europe; and a Hercules aircraft that can be reconfigured to allow for patient transport.

Inside a Hercules aircraft for medical transport
Hercules aircraft for medical transport

“These medevac operations show European cooperation and solidarity at their very best. I am proud of the work being done at an operational level, with a particular emphasis on the work being done by the Norwegian health service,” says Kjerkol.

1,000 patients

Many countries in Europe have the capacity to provide hospital treatment but lack the necessary transportation capacity. Norway’s air bridge is helping to ensure that the hospital capacity available in many countries can be utilised in order to relieve the burden on the Ukrainian health service.

SAS aircraft for medical transport
On the inside of a rebuilt SAS aircraft used for medical transport

Under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, Norway has transported more Ukrainian patients for treatment at hospital across Europe than any other country, while also the second biggest recipient of medevac patients. Since medical evacuations began, Norway has helped to transport almost 1,000 patients, with around 250 of these patients going on to receive treatment in Norwegian hospitals.

Children in war

During his visit to Norway, Lenarčič will also meet with Emilie Enger Mehl, Minister of Justice and Public Security, and he is due to participate in an international conference together with Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister of Foreign Affairs, focusing on the protection of children who are affected by war and conflict. Norway is hosting the conference in partnership with Unicef, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Save the Children.

The conference is also being organised in cooperation with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the UN’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, and the African Union.