WARSAW – The Government of Poland and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, announced today that they have begun distributing emergency cash assistance to refugees coming from Ukraine to Poland.
UNHCR, Caritas Poland and other partners, have worked together to get financial assistance into the hands of refugees with the first families receiving cash assistance today in Warsaw. The programme will quickly expand to towns and cities in the country hosting large numbers of those forced to flee the conflict.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said: “We have been working hand in hand with UNHCR and other partners in the country to ensure that Ukrainian refugees get the support that they need and deserve as fast as possible.”
United Nations High Commissioner, Filippo Grandi said: “No one would have foreseen that in just two weeks, Poland would be asked to welcome 1.3 million refugees. The support of the Polish people and Government has been extraordinary. The speed of the rollout of this joint programme is testament to that spirit of urgency and hospitality.”
Polish Minister of Family and Social Policy Marlena Maląg said: “We are ready to accept refugees coming from Ukraine and to provide them with all necessary support – both in terms of social assistance and support on the labor market”.
The project also partners with Santander Bank Polska, using its innovative BLIK instant payments system, available across Poland. Initial one-off payments, at the same value as the social assistance in Poland, will be made available to registered refugees. To support the recipients, a free helpline has been put in place.
The cash is designed to tide refugees over with dignity until they are able to work or receive social support. It will allow refugees to prioritize what they most need, while providing an economic boost to local Polish businesses.
UNHCR has been providing cash support for refugees in a range of refugee hosting countries around the world for a number of years, alongside NGO and UN partners. This type of help offers dignity of choice in meeting needs. Experience and evidence highlight that it improves protection outcomes and helps people avoid negative coping mechanisms, while facilitating inclusion, boosting local economies and improving the effectiveness of refugee responses.
UNHCR is working with other countries in the region to roll out similar programmes.