Help for refugees – a report after three months of crisis

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a photo of President Rafał Trzaskowski. In the background you can see a screen on which the report on refugees from Ukraine is presented
Author: Rafał Motyl

How many Ukrainian citizens have passed through Warsaw since the beginning of the war, and how many of them are in Warsaw today? What did the help offered by the city for refugees coming from abroad look like and what challenges related to their presence in the capital is Warsaw facing now?

From 24th February to 31st May this year, i.e. in the period covered by the Warsaw report, 800,000 refugees passed through the capital city of Warsaw. This is about 40 per cent of the entire population of Warsaw. At its peak, about 300,000 people stopped in the city and needed to be helped: from simple information to hospital care.

The war began three months ago and from the very beginning Warsaw helped our neighbours from Ukraine as much as it could. One issue worries me, though – I hear that this crisis is slowly coming to an end. We have a completely different impression that, in a sense, it is just getting started because long-term actions are necessary. Today we have to determine what the needs will be in the future because our guests are going to stay with us for longer – says Rafał Trzaskowski, the President of the Capital City of Warsaw.

Today, helping refugees in the capital is entering a new stage – after a period of emergency relief, then stabilization, now the time has come for integration. Warsaw also works in a comprehensive way here. The city's assistance covers all important aspects of life: social integration, education, culture and assistance in entering the labour market.

Today we are thinking about the future, about integration programmes that are supposed to integrate our guests into the social life in Warsaw in such a way so that whole families are as independent as possible and they can freely use all city services. Simultaneously, all of us, the residents of Warsaw, are part of this process - as Aldona Machnowska-Góra, the Vice-President of the Capital City of Warsaw says.

Another huge challenge for the city, due to the ongoing situation, is how to integrate new residents, who make up about 10% of the city's population, and at the same time maintain the current quality of services? This problem concerns all areas of Warsaw's functioning: starting from public transport, through education to public safety. For example, the school infrastructure is at the breaking point. Finding and employing hundreds of new teachers and expanding or building several dozen of new institutions are activities that require time and huge resources.

Once again the Warsaw authorities are calling for specific solutions at the state level.