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UNHCR expands operations in Poland to reach refugees from Ukraine amid rising vulnerabilities

ANI | Updated: May 29, 2022 03:24 IST


Warsaw [Poland], May 29 (ANI): UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, continues to scale up its operations in Poland to provide aid to refugees from Ukraine who have settled across the country.
Poland remains the main country of arrival for refugees from Ukraine, with more than 3.5 million having entered the country since the start of the war on 24 February. The pace of arrivals has slowed down in comparison to early March, when over 100,000 people were arriving per day, to around 20,000 daily in the course of May.
"We have also seen more 'pendular' movements, where people go back and forth across the border to Ukraine for various reasons, including visiting families, checking their properties, or returning to their jobs. However, Poland expects to continue receiving and hosting a considerable number of refugees, given the large internal displacement, massive destruction and the ongoing hostilities in Ukraine," the UNHCR said in a statement.
According to the UN agency, newly arrived refugees often come from areas heavily affected by the fighting, some having spent weeks hiding in bomb shelters and basements. They often arrive in a state of distress and anxiety, having left family members behind, without a clear plan for where to go, and with less economic resources and connections than those who fled earlier.
Health services and medical needs are the main queries UNHCR staff receive from refugees. Other requests concern transportation, financial support, psychosocial needs, accommodation and access to social services, including for people with disabilities and older people.

Poland has put in place systems to ensure legal stay, access to employment, education, health care and other social welfare schemes for Ukrainian refugees. Over 1.1 million have registered with the Polish authorities, receiving a state ID number (PESEL) which gives them access to the services; 94 per cent of those registered are women and children.
UNHCR said that it is supporting government-led efforts through a multisectoral response focusing on protection services, cash assistance, emergency supplies and reception capacity.
"Over 100,000 refugees from Ukraine have already received financial support from UNHCR to cover their basic needs, such as paying rent or buying food and medicine. Cash is provided for a three-month period to those most in need - serving as a transitional emergency safety net - until they can better support themselves or be included in government social protection systems," the statement said.
Almost 20 per cent of refugees enrolled for cash assistance have specific needs.
Aid is provided to serious medical cases, older people, single mothers without family support, women at risk and people with disabilities. Half of the children with specific needs are separated or unaccompanied. (ANI)

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