Warsaw has now taken in almost 200 thousand refugees in a fortnight. Camps have been set up all over the city to provide this huge mass of people with the most basic necessities. In the Mokotow district, a seven-storey office building, which is empty, has been converted into a reception centre. I volunteered there for two days and will report on it in the next few days. There are other reception centres in the three railway stations Zachodni, Centralny and Wschodni. Especially the Centralny station is totally overcrowded. 200 thousand people, that is almost 10 percent of the total population. Several thousand people could be accommodated in private accommodation, free hotel rooms or homeless shelters. Before the war, there were an estimated 100 to 150 thousand Ukrainians living in Warsaw, who are also involved in the relief operation.
The situation is no different in other cities. In Krakow there are 80 to 100 thousand refugees from Ukraine. There were also 60 thousand Ukrainians working there before the invasion. The city has about 800 thousand inhabitants. Wroclaw reports that a state of emergency will soon have to be declared there.
The cities are reaching their financial and spatial limits. There is simply no more free accommodation. In most cases, however, the Ukrainians do not want to move on. On the one hand, they believe that only the largest cities have a functioning infrastructure, and on the other hand, they do not want to be housed so far away from Ukraine. They hope that the war will end soon and that they can return.
A government spokesperson rules out a forced redistribution of the refugees. It is hoped that after a while the Ukrainians will move on to nearby communities on their own initiative, or that they will choose medium-sized towns, especially in western Poland, as places to stay.
This article was written with reference to the article “Warszawa przyjęła 200 tys. uchodźców z Ukrainy. Nie jest w stanie przyjąć więcej” at www.rp.pl
—- Automatic translation from German to English with Deepl —-