Burcu Aksoy – Follow @fxanalizdestek
Hundreds of volunteers, doctors, lawyers, and local residents have been working together to help migrants trapped between Belarus and Poland.
At a makeshift warehouse inside the Polish town of Michalowo’s fire station, locals can drop off dry winter clothes and food, and also provide legal help to the migrants whose survival is becoming increasingly difficult as temperatures drop.
The response was set up after a group of mostly migrant children and women were sent into the woods, despite pleas for asylum.
“It is very important to show them solidarity, human warmth, that they are not alone. On the other hand, they are very afraid of the authorities and the border guards because when they meet them they are turned back to Belarus,” said Marysia Zlonkiewicz, volunteer with the Border Group.
The Polish Border group estimates there are hundreds of migrants on the Polish side and thousands on the Belarus border – most of them being sent back and forth “like footballs”.
Thousands of migrants have tried to cross the border into the European Union since this summer.
Several polish border guards admit they do not like what was going on in these exclusion zones.
“We help them, we take them to our centre (for refugees). Never in a million years would we hurt them. These claims that we’re taking their SIM cards and beating them, they’re totally false,” one of them admitted.