Thousands of Poles have shown kindness toward Ukrainians fleeing a war next door, including many who have welcomed Ukrainian families into their homes. But despite the innumerable individual examples of generosity toward fleeing Ukrainians, concerns are growing that Poland cannot withstand this level of migration.
Poland, a country of 38 million people, has already taken in nearly 2.6 million Ukrainian refugees, or 60 percent of the total exodus since the Russian invasion began at the end of February, according to the United Nations.
Tomasz Szeleszczuk, one district official in charge of nine villages in Poland, said he was proud that his villagers had welcomed Ukrainians. But if many more come, the community will need more help from the Polish authorities, he said. Szeleszczuk said that he was worried about the effects the refugee crisis could have on health care and on the economy countrywide.
“It’s a challenge for the whole system,” he said.
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The stream of Ukrainian refugees into Poland has slowed in recent weeks — 28,908 entered on April 9, compared with nearly 141,000 at the peak on March 6, according to the U.N. But many more could come if hostilities in Ukraine escalate.