Migrants hoping to reach EU not deterred by new Polish border wall

A Polish border guard patrols the area of a newly built metal wall on the border between Poland and Belarus, near Kuźnica, Poland.
A Polish border guard patrols the area of a newly built metal wall on the border between Poland and Belarus, near Kuźnica, Poland. Copyright AP Photo
By Magdalena Chodownik
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Migrants are still attempting to cross into Poland through its border with Belarus, despite the construction of a border wall.

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A migration route leading through the Polish-Belarusian border is still active despite authorities constructing a border wall.

Attempts to cross the border have risen again in recent days, after an initial decrease when the wall was first erected, according to the country’s border guard.

"In the last operating day, we recorded 124 attempts to illegally cross the border from Belarus to Poland,” said Konrad Szwed, a spokesperson for Poland’s border guard.

“These are the sections of the border where there is a river or river backwaters...Pontoons are very often used for this."

Aid organizations that operate on the border are worried about how people will deal with the coming winter.

Ocalenie Foundation, an aid organisation based in Warsaw, says it has received hundreds of requests for help each month.

“People who will cross in winter are much more exposed to immediate risk of loss of health or life,” said Marianna Wartecka, a board member for the foundation.

“Hypothermia is a concern in very wild conditions, such as forests, lakes, rivers and swamps.

“You can suffer very quickly with hypothermia, especially if you are unaware of such conditions, you do not have the appropriate equipment, you are unprepared."

There are also a number of people who have been missing for months.

"There are several dozen people, and a minimum of several dozen families who are fearful, sometimes scared and searching,” Michał Mikołajczyk, the president of Polish Red Cross, told Euronews.

“Among people who cross the Polish-Belarusian border, the number of nationalities and places of origin exceeded 80.

“So, in fact, there are several dozen Red Cross and Red Crescent associations involved."

The body of a missing man was recently found in a river. He was identified and buried in Poland.

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