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News > World

Inflow of Ukrainian Migrates Puts Poland's Hospitality to Test

  • Ukrainians crossing the border into Poland, 2022.

    Ukrainians crossing the border into Poland, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/ @kiraincongress

Published 11 May 2022

Due to problems of assimilation and integration into the culture of other countries, about 30,000 Ukrainians are crossing back into Ukraine every day.

So far Poland has already taken in over three million Ukrainians. Over 300,000 of them, including 120,000 children, have ended up in Warsaw, a city with a population of less than 1.8 million. The influx undoubtedly presents a huge challenge to both the country and its capital.


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Michalina Wieczorek, who works at a migrants' center in the capital city, said that the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a challenge for them as infections were reported in the building both in March and April.

"We isolate them, test the others, and bring back those who test negative," she said, adding that if the European Union fund does not arrive soon, it will be very difficult for them.

In mid-April, Poland's Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Pawel Jablonski said that in the face of the "biggest refugee crisis since World War II," the burden of helping those affected by the conflict "shouldn't be borne only by Ukraine's neighbors."

For now, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and volunteers still provide the lion's share of support. Many of the latter take time off from their jobs to help at the center, which is anything but sustainable in the long run.

Ptak Warsaw Expo, the largest exhibition center in central Europe and now a major aid point for Ukrainians, has already hosted 65,000 of them since the onset of the conflict.

"Actually, the very beginning was difficult and it was easier because everybody wanted to help. Everybody wanted to be engaged. So it was fine. We were full with supplies; our warehouse was full. But now, engagement is much, much lower. People are a little bit tired now. They don't have the resources anymore," said Marta Pasternak, the expo's account manager.

Finding temporary shelter appears to be relatively easy for the Ukrainians, but "the problem is finding something for longer term, because people put up guests for a week or two, but that's not the solution that can last for months," said Dominika Pszczolkowska, a researcher at the Center of Migration Research of the University of Warsaw.

"At least in Warsaw, the housing market was already pretty tight before the conflict. And now we have added about 17 percent of inhabitants of the city. So, they have difficulty finding rental apartments, even if they can pay as they have savings or a job," she added.

Due to various problems, such as assimilation and integration issues, many Ukrainian refugees are about to leave. According to data released in mid-April by the United Nations, more than 870,000 Ukrainians who fled abroad since Feb. 24 have already returned to their home country, and about 30,000 Ukrainians are crossing back into Ukraine every day.

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