Aid workers warn of humanitarian crisis on the Poland-Belarus border

Belarus and Poland
Belarus and Poland Source:

Aid organizations have warned that a humanitarian catastrophe could be unfolding along Poland’s border with Belarus, as migrants from the Middle East continue to mass there in an attempt to enter the EU.

With night frosts setting in and winter fast approaching, the conditions for migrants are becoming increasingly critical, Maria Zlonkiewicz of the recently formed Grupa Granica, an organization monitoring the situation on the Polish border, told dpa on Tuesday.

“We appeal to the Polish government to allow doctors and paramedics to access the border, otherwise we’ll find many dead bodies come spring,” she said.
Several migrants are already known to have died in the border area in recent weeks.

The government in Warsaw accuses Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of assisting refugees from conflict zones to reach the EU’s external border to create a crisis.

Lukashenko himself announced at the end of May that Minsk would no longer prevent migrants from transiting Belarus on their way to the EU – in retaliation for tightened European sanctions against the former Soviet republic.

Poland is currently building a fence along the 418-kilometre border, which is largely made up of thick forest.

On September 2, a 30-day state of emergency was declared on a 3-kilometre-wide strip of the border. As a result, aid workers and journalists are not allowed to enter. The Polish government is currently considering extending the state of emergency for a further 60 days.

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