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17 November 2021, 17:32

Situation of refugees described as catastrophic following Poland's use of water cannons, toxic substances

GRODNO, 17 November (BelTA) - After Poland used water cannons and toxic substances on refugees, their situation has become catastrophic, Grodno Oblast Governor Vladimir Karanik told the media on 17 November, BelTA has learned.

Vladimir Karanik visited the temporary accommodation of refugees in the transport and logistics center near the Bruzgi checkpoint.

"After yesterday's escalation at the border, after Poland used water cannons and toxic chemical compounds against the refugees, the situation of these people became simply catastrophic. Given freezing temperatures, being in wet clothes is a real risk for human health and life. The head of state instructed to provide these people with overnight accommodation," Vladimir Karanik said.

Many people refused to leave the border, hoping for the opening of a humanitarian corridor. We found a compromise solution and suggested accommodation in the logistics center located within walking distance from the checkpoint, the governor noted. The premises were prepared within two hours. Some of the refugees relocated here. Thanks to well-coordinated work, the Belarusian side provided not only accommodation but also organized hot meals for refugees.

“We realized that we had to relocate the refugees, especially the injured, into a warm place before nightfall in order to minimize risks to their health,” Vladimir Karanik said.

At present the temperature in the place where the refugees are accommodated is about 16°C. Hot meals, water supply, medical assistance have been arranged there.

More sites are being prepared to accommodate the refugees. Those who remained in the makeshift camp at the checkpoint are also taken care of. People, especially families with children, are offered to move to the accommodation facility set up in the logistics center. “Another cold night is a threat to their life and health, especially for children,” said Vladimir Karanik.

The gradual relocation will continue tonight. If necessary, other facilities will be prepared to host the refugees, but so far the refugees are extremely reluctant to leave the borderline.

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