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Limits of civil aid - Case of Poland

Updated: Oct 22, 2022

After months of conflict and the steady increase in the cost of living, Poles have begun to experience what is now known as "refugee fatigue." This refers to the growing indifference and resentment towards displaced people from their host societies due to the constant needs of refugee populations.⁣

While the Polish government continues to emphasise the benefits of hosting Ukrainians, individuals and organisations have noticed a dwindling of volunteers and donations alongside a change in attitude towards refugees.⁣

Hannah Ballew, an American volunteer in Warsaw, has noted, "[i]f I look at the people around me, it's a 50-50 situation, between those who are still very committed to helping Ukrainians and those who would just like them to get out."⁣

Maciej Duszczyk, a migration expert has stated that refugee fatigue is a normal development as people get tired after providing aid for several months. Despite this, Duszczyk still believes that Poland's response to this particular refugee situation "should go down in history books." Whether these hypothetical books will care to include a harsh but faithful commentary on the rejection and victimisation of primarily Middle Eastern refugees on the Polish-Belarusian border at the same time remains to be seen.⁣

On the other side, Ukrainian women have come face to face with the abortion restrictions imposed by Poland's conservative government. Moreover, while hundreds of rape reports from the Russian invasion have been received, there has been no success in easing the restrictions for Ukrainian refugees. ⁣

Finally, Poland is an example of the limits of civil aid when both governments and societies are not prepared to respond to such a crisis, along with the added factors resulting from an armed conflict so close to home—a declining economy and infrastructure. ⁣

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