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War in Ukraine: how is Warsaw organized to welcome 300,000 refugees?

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Warsaw has welcomed 300,000 Ukrainian refugees since the start of the war. This is 17% of the population of the Polish capital. Despite the chaos of the first days, migratory pressure has been less felt in recent days in the public space of the city. At the Polish capital’s Gare de l’Est, our special correspondent William Molinié even observed a relative return to calm.

REPORT

In the station hall, the comings and goings of daily travelers have taken over. Alex, 24, is waiting for his father in front of the wharf. Aside from the Ukrainian flags now flying on buses and trains, his city, he says, hasn’t changed in appearance.

emergency aid

“No, there are no big problems. Most people receive emergency help. Some have to wait a bit but on the whole, everyone finds a safe place to drop off,” he told the micro d’Europe 1. In Warsaw, Ukrainian refugees are encouraged to favor the outskirts to settle there. Life is cheaper there, work is easier to find.

In some economic sectors, the war even had the opposite effect. As Maria observed, she works in construction: “We already welcomed Ukrainian workers with whom I had a lot of exchanges before. But when the war started, I lost contact because they came back to fight”.

Avoid congestion at the exit of buses and trains

Every day, between 200 and 800 refugees are directed from Warsaw East Station to a reception center less than 100 meters away. Inside, something to rest, eat and occupy the children with games. Under the gaze of Slawomir, dozens of volunteers guide the families. “Our main goal is to avoid congestion at the exit of buses and train terminals. We manage arrivals. It is a place of transit”, explains one of them.

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Even if the flow of refugees dries up over the weeks, this center will remain open. It will be intended to manage return flows. This time to Ukraine.

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