Refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine are seen crossing the border into Poland at the Medyka border crossing | Photo: Ingebjorg Karstad/NRC
Refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine are seen crossing the border into Poland at the Medyka border crossing | Photo: Ingebjorg Karstad/NRC

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is joining with a number of partner organizations to launch a new refugee reception center in the Polish capital Warsaw. The facility is designed to receive 2,500 people a day fleeing the war in neighbouring Ukraine -- but will need more funds to realize all its goals.

Jan Egeland, the Secretary General of NRC, stressed during a visit to Poland that the country had opened its doors to over two million people fleeing the war in Ukraine in just a short 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," he added.

At the East Train Station in Warsaw, NRC is setting up a transit centre in cooperation with local Polish organisation, PCPM | Photo: Joanna Nahorska/NRC
At the East Train Station in Warsaw, NRC is setting up a transit centre in cooperation with local Polish organisation, PCPM | Photo: Joanna Nahorska/NRC


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The new reception center located at at the Warsaw East Station, will provide meals, medical services and psychosocial support to 2,500 refugees a day, with up to 1,500 expected to stay there at any given time. 

NRC and partners will provide 2,500 meals per day, while making 500 additional meals available for people who will be staying there for longer, 1,500 snacks for children as well as special food options for diabetics. NRC said it aims to reach 200,000 people by the end of April, providing education, shelter, legal assistance and cash to those in need. The center will also feature "a dedicated space for children, a medical point and a special point for psychological support."

The NRC initiative is being supported by NRC's partner in Poland, -- the Polish Centre for International Aid -- the city of Warsaw, and a number of local food cooperatives.

One month into the war in Ukraine, the UN estimates that 4,3 million children are displaced from their homes | Photo: Ingebjorg Karstad/NRC
One month into the war in Ukraine, the UN estimates that 4,3 million children are displaced from their homes | Photo: Ingebjorg Karstad/NRC

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Millions in aid still needed

The NRC highlighted that more funding was needed to support organizations working on the frontlines in Poland and other neighboring countries, as well as in Ukraine itself: 

"We are working with a number of Polish aid organisations in Lublin, Warsaw and Chelm. NRC's humanitarian response plan for the entire Ukraine response calls for $82 million to target 800,000 people in Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Moldova," the charity said in a press statement.

"International donors, including the United States, should focus their funding efforts on local actors and organizations working with local NGOs in neighboring countries and those inside Ukraine, who have taken on the heroic work of delivering aid since the first days of the war."

Egeland added: "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."

Refugee arrivals from Ukraine via Przemsyl, Poland | Photo: picture-alliance
Refugee arrivals from Ukraine via Przemsyl, Poland | Photo: picture-alliance

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The war in Ukraine continues

In recent days, the number of people crossing into Poland from Ukraine has started to decline for the first time. However, the hundreds of thousands of people still in limbo continue to need more help.

NRC said that it had been in touch with Ukrainian refugees who said they had no idea where to go next, feeling frustrated that there "is no space left for them in Poland."

With NRC

 

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