Refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine are crossing the border into Poland at the Medyka border. Over 2 million people have fled into Poland one month into the conflict. Photo: Ingebjørg Kårstad/NRC

New refugee reception centre opens in overwhelmed Poland

Published 25. Mar 2022
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) together with its local partners are launching a refugee reception centre in the Polish capital Warsaw today, set up to receive 2,500 people a day fleeing the war in neighbouring Ukraine.

“Poland has opened its doors to over two million people fleeing the war in Ukraine in just a 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,” said Jan Egeland, NRC’s Secretary General, who is visiting Poland this week to officially launch the new facility with the Mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski.

More funding is needed to directly support organisations on the frontlines of the response, in Poland and other neighbouring countries, as well as in Ukraine itself. International donors, including the United States, should focus their funding efforts on local actors and organisations working with local NGOs in neighbouring countries and those inside Ukraine, who have taken on the heroic work of delivering aid since the first days of the war.

At the new reception centre located at at the Warsaw East Station, NRC in cooperation with its local partners – the Polish Centre for International Aid and the city of Warsaw - will provide meals, medical services and psychosocial support to 1,500 refugees expected to be staying there at any given time.

While the number of people crossing into Poland has started to decline in recent days, the needs of families crossing the border are increasing. NRC has spoken with Ukrainian refugees who say they have no idea where to go next, and that there is no space left for them in Poland.

“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,” said Egeland.

NRC aims to reach 200,000 people in Poland with assistance by the end of April, providing education, psychosocial support, shelter, legal assistance and cash to people in need. We are working with a number of Polish aid organisations in Lublin, Warsaw and Chełm. NRC’s humanitarian response plan for the entire Ukraine response calls for US$82 million to target 800,000 people in Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Moldova.

Background on the reception centre:

  • NRC’s refugee reception centre at the Warsaw East Station is expected to host 2,500 refugees a day, with up to 1,500 staying there at any one time.
  • NRC, together with local food cooperatives, will provide 2,500 meals per day on site, with 500 additional meals for people staying longer, 1,500 snacks for children and special food for diabetics.
  • The centre will also feature a dedicated space for children, a medical point and a special point for psychological support.
  • The Polish Centre for International Aid (PCPM), NRC’s partner in Poland, is responsible for the overall site management. The city of Warsaw will support with information, support and referral to long term accommodation.

Note to editors:

  • Photos of refugees who have arrived in Poland are available to download for free here.
  • Video b-roll of refugees who have arrived in Poland is available to download for free here.
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