People from all over Poland rushed to the country’s border with Ukraine to help those fleeing Russia invasion by offering trips to other cities, bags of essential clothing or give their time to help any way they can.
Moved to tears by fate of Ukrainian peoplePolish volunteer Katarzyna Jasinska offered a warm childrena refugee’s jacket who had just crossed in the border village of eastern Poland of Medika.
“Some arrived with nothing at all or with just a bag main. While they were running away, they didn’t have time to bring anything,” the vet tech said. who left son home in Tychy, in the south of Poland, to offer a helping hand main.
“Some are injured. They just need all. It is an unimaginable tragedy,” said the 25-year-old told Agence France-Presse (AFP), surrounded by dozens of plastic bags packed with clothes for the new Arrivals.
Jasinska is one of the thousands of volunteers – Poles as well as Ukrainians living in Poland – who dropped everything help refugees since Russia invaded Ukraine on Thusday.
Sunday noon, nearly 200,000 people had already entered Poland from Ukraine, according to Polish border guards, with the number on the rise with Every hour.
The United Nations refugee agency says some 368,000 people fled Ukraine in total until there.
At Medyka, the line of the arrivals awaiting processing were seemingly endless. Most made up of women and childrenthey entered Poland after dozens of hours in line in cold.
“They are in need of warm jackets, hats, gloves, but also childrenclothes,” Jasinska said after a night of under-zero weather.
‘Effusion of solidarity’
A northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv, 45-year-old Igor, had just made a request for two parkas for her daughters, aged 4 and 8, who were still stuck on the other side of the border.
“They have already waiting for 20 hours along with my wife to cross over in Poland,” said the construction worker who lived in Warsaw for four years.
“It’s extraordinary what the Poles are doing. It warms the heart. We did not expect such an outburst of solidarity. We are offered food, tea, clothes, transport, all for free,” he told AFP.
Once they have made on the other side of the border, the refugees are met by parents or living friends in Poland – home to about 1.5 million Ukrainians – or volunteers.
All the way from the border crossing, young people give out free drinks and food, clothes, diapers and even strollers.
A telephone operator has set up a tent where Ukrainians can recharge their mobile phones and get a free SIM card cards just showing their Ukrainian passport.
They can also get free train tickets nationwide and access public transport in the capital Warsaw and several other cities.
All over Poland, people have contributed money and essential supplies like medicines and clothing cause.
Many provide refugees with accommodation, meals, work or a free elevator.
“Wroclaw, 4 places”, reads a simple cardboard sign tenuous up by one volunteer offering refugees a ride to the southwest city located more more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Medyka.
“This morning I had in the car filled it up with gasoline, then driven over here,” said Michal Swieczkowski, a 40-year- old economist.
“I didn’t really think about it. It was just a visceral reaction to help these people“, he told AFP.
Dozens of others like offered him to drive refugees from all over of Poland, but also in Estonia, Germany, Sweden and elsewhere.
Nearby, a red fire truck waiting to take new arrivals at a reception center set up in a station in the city of Przemysl, where refugees can receive medical treatment, have a meal or lie down down to rest.
“If they have family in Poland or know or they want go, we help they get there. Others, on directs them to other centers across the country for further away help”, said Filip, an 18-year-old pole of Ukrainian descent.
“People have mobilized to an incredible degree. You see everyone wants help refugees,” he told AFP.