New Refugee Reception Centre Opens In Overwhelmed Poland
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New Refugee Reception Centre Opens In Overwhelmed Poland

Poland has welcomed over 2 million refugees fleeing Ukraine

Michelle Delaney
Senior Media Adviser to the Secretary-General
Advocacy and Media Section, Oslo

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) together with its local partners are launching a refugee reception centre in the Polish capital Warsaw today, set up to receive 2,500 people a day fleeing the war in neighbouring Ukraine.

“Poland has opened its doors to over two million people fleeing the war in Ukraine in just a month. The generosity of the Polish people is an example to the rest of Europe, but has left Poland stretched and overwhelmed, as volunteers, local authorities and aid groups work night and day to meet the needs of those crossing the border,” said Jan Egeland, NRC’s Secretary-General, who is visiting Poland this week to officially launch the new facility with the Mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski.

More funding is needed to directly support organizations on the frontlines of the response, in Poland and other neighbouring countries, as well as in Ukraine itself. International donors, including the United States, should focus their funding efforts on local actors and organizations working with local NGOs in neighbouring countries and those inside Ukraine, who have taken on the heroic work of delivering aid since the first days of the war.

At the new reception centre located at the Warsaw East Station, NRC in cooperation with its local partners – the Polish Centre for International Aid and the city of Warsaw – will provide meals, medical services and psychosocial support to 1,500 refugees expected to be staying there at any given time.

While the number of people crossing into Poland has started to decline in recent days, the needs of families crossing the border are increasing. NRC has spoken with Ukrainian refugees who say they have no idea where to go next, and that there is no space left for them in Poland.

“The international community needs to scale up its efforts to relocate people to safety and ensure they can start anew after their lives were shattered by this senseless war. Poland has shown what international solidarity should look like. EU leaders should convene a European Summit where heads of governments agree on real responsibility-sharing,” said Egeland.

NRC aims to reach 200,000 people in Poland with assistance by the end of April, providing education, psychosocial support, shelter, legal assistance and cash to people in need. We are working with a number of Polish aid organizations in Lublin, Warsaw and Chełm. NRC’s humanitarian response plan for the entire Ukraine response calls for US$82 million to target 800,000 people in Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Moldova.