On March 8, 2022, my organization in Poland (ZPP) and the Kulski Foundation associated with Małgorzata Bogusz, a member of EESC, organized a small but very quick humanitarian convoy. It was the second trip during the week. I went to Lviv, Ukraine with Małgorzata Bogusz and Tom Palmer, VP of the Atlas Network from the United States.
The purpose of the trip was to provide medicines, medical and hygienic materials. Equipped with two full buses, we went to the place indicated by the Ukrainian side, which packs and distributes products to places where there are the greatest needs.
There is a long queue of passenger cars and buses all the time on the Polish-Ukrainian border towards Poland. Unfortunately, the needs related to the evacuation of civilians are not decreasing, but are systematically growing. Poland has already received (as of March 10, 2022) over 1.5 million Ukrainians.
On the way to Lviv, we meet several checkpoints. The largest of them, secured by the military, is located at the very entrance to the city. It is a very lively city, a lot of people move around the city. There are several hundred thousand more people in the city than usual. Lviv is currently a transfer and logistics center supporting central and eastern Ukraine. At the outskirts of the city, we met our guide who led us to the logistics center. A team of people was waiting there, and they immediately started unloading. All products were sorted immediately after unloading and properly described (according to the adopted formula). Process management is at the highest level. I am glad that after work we found time to exchange comments about the current situation and the greatest needs. It is worth adding that the inhabitants of Lviv stay at their homes and support the accommodation, catering and transport of refugees from areas affected by an unauthorized attack by Russia.
I would also like to share the key recommendations and needs of the Ukrainian side. We work together every day and I feel empowered to summarize expectations. They can be broken down into some fundamental political, military and civilian needs. Political are:
- Financial assistance and providing military products - a task for governments and large companies.
- Pressure and wide, deep, sanctions on Russia and Belarus. Sanctions that are impossible to go around. These will also be costs for us and we need to accept it. Finally it’s time to redefine our energy policy.
If goes about concrete expectations from us, employers ', employees' organizations and civil socjety these are:
- Support in the supply of medical products;
- Obtaining other supplies according to the specifications of our partners
- Support in the evacuation of families. On our way back from Ukraine, we had the honor of transporting people evacuating from Ukraine. The other option is to engage on the border and assist with transportation.
- Reception and accommodation of families who come to the European Union countries. The countries of the region need support in places to stay, in places in your homes, in your empty apartments. As for Poland, we already have over 1.3 million war refugees.
- Quick job finding for people who come and can / want to work
I would like to emphasize that the current crisis related to the necessity to admit refugees is unprecedented in the modern history of Europe. Here it is necessary to involve us - civil society from all the Member States.