WARSAW – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today acknowledged the enormous support of the Polish authorities and civil society for those who have been forced to flee Ukraine, after the number of arrivals passed the two million mark within three weeks.
“This has been a tremendous effort from the people, local communities, municipalities and government of Poland in receiving and hosting new arrivals,” said Christine Goyer, UNHCR’s Representative in Poland. “What is important now is that the international community steps up to help provide more durable support, while access to protection and asylum is ensured and maintained for all people seeking safety at Poland’s borders.”
In Poland, UNHCR has been working with national authorities, local administrations, municipalities and civil society on refugee and asylum issues.
In response to the current Ukrainian refugee situation, UNHCR is managing the Poland chapter of the Regional Refugee Response Plan and is working to strengthen reception capacities.
This undertaking will deploy funds raised by UNHCR and partners globally to support the country in areas ranging from shelter to education, basic needs, water and sanitation, child protection and gender-based violence. Projects will be implemented through more than 50 NGO and humanitarian partners – largely national actors – in all parts of the country.
Together with partners and in close cooperation with the authorities, UNHCR is also rolling out a cash support programme in the country worth over US$190 million to help tide refugees over in meeting their basic needs until they are able to draw support from the state.
At the Ukraine border, UNHCR has been working with partners and adding staff to help support volunteers and reception centres with information provision, protection training and specialized interventions.
UNHCR’s work in Poland has also focused on moving essential life-saving items to Ukraine.
“We are fully aware of the strains that this huge welcome operation is creating in Poland, and that’s why we’re ready to work hand in hand with the local authorities, municipalities and civil society as long as we are needed,” said Goyer.
Polish authorities have been warning that many parts of the country are close to capacity in their ability to accommodate many more refugees. UNHCR welcomes the commitment by communes further from the border who are offering accommodation. UNHCR encourages refugees to make use of this and inquire about options further inside the country, and also outside big cities.
Among the two million people who have entered Poland from Ukraine, some have moved on to other countries in the EU, although the majority are believed to be still in Poland.
The overall number of refugees who have left Ukraine to neighbouring countries from 24 February onwards is estimated at over 3.2 million.
In Warsaw, Poland:
Rafał Kostrzynski, +48 788 224 010, email@example.com
Andreas KIRCHHOF, +48 732 714 322, firstname.lastname@example.org