Home News On the bottom: Hiding and hurting within the forests of Poland.

On the bottom: Hiding and hurting within the forests of Poland.


It was pitch black earlier than daybreak on Thursday, and solely the howling winter wind pierced the silence within the primeval forest close to Poland’s border with Belarus. Guided to this location by a pin on a Google map, a bunch of humanitarian employees was supposed to satisfy migrants in determined want of help.

However nothing. Solely darkness and silence. Somebody within the group placed on evening imaginative and prescient goggles.

“They’re right here,” he stated. Only a few toes away, a bunch of eight folks sat huddled and nonetheless.

That is what the coalition of humanitarian organizations working collectively on the Polish facet of the border calls an “intervention.”

A bunch of about 14 organizations monitoring the scenario on the border, Grupa Granica, has banded collectively to assist.

“We’ve an obligation as a state to offer help to folks exploited by the Lukashenka regime,” the teams stated in an announcement. “Within the face of the actual menace of an escalation of the scenario on the border,” they appealed to all events to respect the fundamental ideas of humanitarianism.

For months, because the disaster has escalated, this community of nongovernmental organizations has been doing what it will possibly to deliver meals, shelter, drugs and garments to these in want.

Whereas a lot of the worldwide focus in latest days has been on the world round Kuznica — a border crossing the place hundreds of migrants hoping to make it to the European Union have been camped and in limbo — the Belarus-Poland border is an enormous one which stretches greater than 250 miles.

The Polish authorities have restricted entry to all however native residents residing inside two miles of the border. However the forests stretch nicely previous that zone, and it’s in these woods that many who’ve made it previous the guards and the razor wire are hiding and ready for a possibility to maneuver on.

The group of eight ready within the predawn hours on Thursday included folks from Syria and Yemen. They’d been within the forest for months. Each the migrants and the help employees requested that their names not be used for worry of coming beneath scrutiny of the authorities.

The trail for migrants who make it throughout the border is a fraught one. Whereas the rolling farmlands and dense forests are usually not very populated, eluding detection on foot for miles is unlikely.

So that they disguise and await folks paid to take them additional west, exterior Poland, the place they will then search asylum, in line with migrants and people acquainted with their scenario.

Alongside principally empty streets, Polish police vehicles sit parked, ready to tug over vans and different automobiles. In the event that they discover individuals who have crossed illegally, they ship them again to Belarus, the place many will wait after which strive once more.