– Unfortunately, there is still no end in sight for the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border. Everything indicates that migrants will continue to be supported by the government in Minsk on their way to the border of Poland and the EU, assesses Wojciech Wilk, a UN expert on humanitarian crisis and CEO of the PCPM Foundation which operates the Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM. – No one should die in the woods. Our goal is one. It is saving the health and lives of those in need, both Poles and foreigners, adds Wilk.
The Poland Emergency Medical Team PCPM is the first and the only one, rapid response team in Poland (EMT – Emergency Medical Team) to humanitarian crises and disasters, and certified by the WHO (World Health Organization). It has carried out rescue missions after the explosion in the port of Lebanon, the earthquake in Nepal, mudslides in Peru and the floods in Bosnia. Its members also helped during the protests in Kiev’s Maidan, and since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic they have carried out nearly 10 missions on 3 continents, starting in Lombardy, Italy, where they supported the staff of local hospitals. The medics draw on their experience working domestically and on many overseas rescue missions.
Doctors and paramedics of various specialties, experienced in their field on numerous rescue missions, will take over the duties of volunteers from the 'Medics on the Border’ initiative.
– As the PCPM Foundation we bring medical aid in places where it is needed – emphasizes Piotr Stopka, coordinating the mission of the Team. – So far it was mainly abroad, but now also in Poland. The winter is coming. It’s a nightmare for the people who find themselves in the middle of this situation for various reasons – adds Stopka.
Regardless of what happens at the border, everyone whose life or health is threatened should receive medical attention. For an Iraqi or Yemeni, wandering around a forest on a November night is as life-threatening as wandering through the desert for a Pole – compares Wojciech Wilk, president of the PCPM Foundation and a UN expert.
– The actions of the Belarusian authorities are not only an instrumental exploitation of poverty, hopelessness and desperation of people from many countries of the world who decide to leave their homes and cross the border on their own or are forced to do so by the Belarusian services. It is also a threat to the international legal order based on the Refugee Convention and a threat to refugee rights around the world, the UN expert concludes.
The medics from the PCPM Foundation will work in small teams, on duty 24 hours a day and reach people in need or injured.
– We have our own equipment, we replenish our stock of medicines or medical appliances, but any support in this difficult situation is priceless. That is why we have launched a special money collection on pcpm.org.pl/granica – emphasizes Zofia Kwolek, Fundraising Director at the PCPM Foundation. – We are asking for your support, which will allow us to purchase essential medicines and equipment and cover logistical costs, she adds.
– We take over the care of those in need of help from the ‘Medics on the border’ on November 16 – announces Wojciech Wilk. – We will act in the interests of all Poles, also showing the world that Poland is not indifferent to the fate of people who are lost, abandoned or dying in the woods, concludes Wilk.