– I think it is completely incomprehensible that it takes so long to find out this.
This is the reaction from the municipal chief in Lillesand, Thor-Erling Engemyr, after Dagbladet this week was able to report that Ukraine has repeatedly asked Norway for help in evacuating injured soldiers.
As many as four times, the first time already over a month ago, Ukraine has come with a request for help to treat wounded soldiers in Norway. But all inquiries are still unanswered.
– For evaluation
“The question of whether Norway should offer medical evacuation of injured Ukrainian soldiers is under consideration.” writes Mehl in a written response to the Storting on 11 May.
Read the response to the criticism from the Ministry of Justice at the bottom of the case.
The first request from Ukraine for help came through the EU’s crisis system on 23 April. Also on 5, 7 and 10 May, Norway received requests to contribute with medical evacuation from the war-torn country.
The municipal chief believes that Norway has a moral responsibility.
– Since 24 February, there have been a large number of both injured and civilians who need emergency medical help. The Ukrainian hospitals are overcrowded with injured patients. We have a humanitarian duty in Norway to contribute, not least in light of the fact that we have been explicitly asked to help. There are many injured fathers, brothers and sons here who we have a duty to assist and help, says Engemyhr.
Will work for free
The municipal chief says that he has received a number of inquiries from friends who want to contribute with an extra effort, if wounded Ukrainians are allowed to come to Norway.
– I have talked to a lot of health professionals who really want to contribute. An entire team is needed to treat injured patients. There is talk of taking extra shifts, others say they can work during the summer holidays to make it happen.
Engemyhr has shared Dagbladet’s first case on Facebook, with the message that he is ready to take extra shifts.
“Now is the time to answer!” he writes in the post.
In the comments field, a number of doctors and other health personnel report. One of them is surgeon Odd Arild Agedal, with eight years of experience as a specialist in orthopedics.
“I ask what and wherever the need is Without SALARY,” he writes.
– If it is the case that it should be difficult to get people to help, that you need surgeons who need this type of injury, then I will of course be part of that charity event. It will not cost me anything in salary, says Agedal who these days is getting ready for an assignment for Doctors Without Borders.
– Poorly done
The experienced surgeon also questions why the government has not yet agreed to accept war-injured Ukrainians.
– I think it’s a little badly done. With these types of injuries, it gets worse the longer you wait. The faster you get the patients in, the better for both the doctor and the patient’s result.
Agedal believes that there will be a great need for treatment of war injuries from Ukraine for a long time to come.
– One thing is the emergency, but imagine all the advanced surgery that awaits children and adults. Now people are just patched together. There are many serious injuries that need treatment. There can be complicated fractures, fractures that have healed incorrectly and splinter damage.
– The government’s responsibility
For more than a month, the government has been considering whether to say yes to Ukraine’s request for help. Municipal chief physician Thor-Erling Engemyhr believes the government is working too slowly in the case.
– The government must see its responsibility. I would rather we were the ones who approached Ukraine and asked if we could help you.
Dagbladet has asked for a comment from the Minister of Justice and Emergency Management Emilie Enger Mehl (Sp). Senior communications adviser responds on behalf of the Ministry of Justice and Emergency Preparedness in an e-mail:
«Norwegian authorities receive various requests for assistance to Ukraine. The requests are in many cases demanding to decide on because there is a need for effort and assessments in several instances. With regard to the medical evacuation of wounded Ukrainian soldiers, we aim to have completed these assessments in a short time. “