Korczowa, Poland, Mar 22 (EFE).- While the hundreds of Ukrainian refugees taking shelter in what used to be a shopping mall near the Polish village of Korczowa have managed to flee the war in their country, they are now facing another threat: coronavirus.
The World Health Organization recently warned the Covid-19 pandemic was far from over and that measures such as social distancing and personal hygiene should still be in place.
But Salon Kyiv, a shopping mall just across the border from Ukraine, cannot fulfill these requirements, raising concerns among Polish authorities that the humanitarian crisis unleashed by the war will trigger a new wave of Covid-19 infections.
Almost 2 out of the 3.4 million refugees who have fled Ukraine into neighboring countries since Russia launched a full-scale invasion last month are in Poland.
The shopping center has no ventilation or showers, both of which are in high demand for people who have been traveling for days.
The feeling of despair of the women, children and elderly that have been forced to leave everything behind is etched on their tired faces.
Hundreds of fold-up beds are lined up across the shopping center which still features the logos of fashion brands like Zara and Massimo Dutti.
A separate space for breastfeeding mothers has been designated and makeshift health centers made with tents have been set up.
Meanwhile, Polish volunteers are doing their best to make this place a little more welcoming, offering children stuffed animals to play with and their mothers cosmetics and hygiene products.
With many Ukranians not vaccinated against Covid-19, Polish authorities are offering new arrivals the jab, but not everyone is willing.
Rather, they are eager to reach their new destinations in the hopes of one day being able to return back to their homes in Ukraine. EFE