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Poland shows solidarity during COVID-19 pandemic

27.07.2020

During the coronavirus pandemic, Europe and the world need solidarity more than ever before. Poland plays an active role in helping the Eastern Partnership countries, Africa, the Middle East, and selected European states to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. We send Polish doctors to help treat patients, offer in-kind assistance, support Polish community actions worldwide and we do much more.

Polish solidarity

Bringing stranded citizens home

In March and April, the MFA, in cooperation with the Chancellery of the Polish Prime Minister and LOT Polish Airlines, ran the #LotDoDomu (LOT flies back home) action. It was one of the largest operations in the history of the Polish diplomatic and consular services and the LOT company. It brought back home more than 55,000 Poles on board Polish planes. We also helped more than 2,000 other travellers come back home, among them nationals of the EU, the US, Japan, Canada, Australia, Ukraine, the UK, Turkey, South Korea, Switzerland, Norway, and Thailand.

 Help provided by Polish doctors 

In March, doctors from the Military Institute of Medicine and the Polish Center for International Aid arrived at a field hospital in Brescia to support Italian health services in the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in Lombardy. In April, as part of the WHO mission, they supported medical services in Kyrgyzstan, the US (Chicago) and Slovenia; in June they went to Tajikistan. The presence of Polish doctors and paramedics on the ground was also an opportunity to exchange experiences relating to the organisation of national healthcare systems to better manage the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.

In-kind assistance

In April, the first convoys carrying medical supplies for the Italian health service left Warsaw. The Polish government decided to send disinfectants made and handed over by the state-owned Polfa Tarchomin S.A. company to health facilities in the Veneto region in northern Italy and to a hospital in San Marino in the first place. Poland also sent large numbers of medical supplies to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus, Montenegro, Georgia, Spain, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia, Ukraine, and the Vatican. Polish missions received additional funds (over PLN 1 million) to support the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in Ukraine and Belarus.  When the pandemic broke out, a part of Polish administration projects carried out in the Eastern Partnership countries were modified to help deal with its fallout.

Contributions to international organisations

Poland also supports multilateral mechanisms fighting the impact of the pandemic. We contributed PLN 1 million to the Central Emergency Response Fund of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and PLN 1 million to UNICEF actions in Palestine. We donated approximately PLN 441,000 for UNDP Belarus to carry out the project Preventing Non-communicable Diseases, Promoting Healthy Lifestyle and Support to Modernization of the Health System in Belarus (BELMED). In addition, we have made an annual contribution of PLN 1 million to UNRWA – UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, and a contribution of PLN 2 million for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Fund to support Yemen and Syria. Poland contributed more than PLN 400,000 in total to the COVID-2019 Preparedness and Response Plan fund run by UNICEF Ethiopia. We supported the World Food Programme actions in Kenya to fight the COVID-19 pandemic with a contribution of over PLN 470,000.

Poland actively advocates EU solidarity in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and fighting its consequences in developing countries as part of the so-called Team Europe strategy. We organise humanitarian actions, make contributions to international organisations and have redefined some of our bilateral projects (at present, our contribution exceeds EUR 33 million).

Polish community abroad supports its neighbours

Our compatriots all over the world joined in grassroots solidarity actions to help others. Teachers from Polish schools in the Czech Republic sewed face masks, Poles living in Bali 3D printed protective equipment, the Polish community in Mexico helped to deliver goods, and the Association of Polish Doctors from Berdyansk in Ukraine organised phone consultations. These are just a few examples of numerous initiatives undertaken by the Polish community abroad. We should also remember about Polish doctors working in hospitals all over the world who fight selflessly at the front line of the coronavirus crisis. Polish community organisations, scouting and school associations, as well as churches joined local initiatives and launched their own actions to help others and support their home countries in this difficult time. Moreover, selected actions received funding from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the #Polonia4Neighbours programme.

Polish Embassies and Cultural Institutes support the #ZostańWDomu (stay at home) action

Polish Institutes as well as diplomatic and consular missions took part in actions to help local communities. The Polish Institute in Bucharest launched the #AjutăNuAștepta/#PomagajNieCzekaj (help, don’t wait) action to promote helping older people during the pandemic. The initiative received a large online response of nearly 1 million users. The Polish Institute in Budapest handed over equipment for Szent László Hospital for Infectious Diseases and Bethesda Children’s Hospital in Budapest. As part of the “Parcel for those in need” initiative, the Polish Embassy in Kazakhstan, in cooperation with Polish organisations, delivered food parcels to vulnerable persons. In Georgia, the “Dear elderly neighbours” action was launched to provide assistance to older people with daily errands, including shopping for food. Polish Sisters of Saint Elizabeth in Tbilisi joined in the initiative. Polish missions also have a wide online cultural offer for people who stay at home. They organise Polish poetry readings, provide access to films, and offer virtual tours around Poland and online visits to Polish museums. Our missions promote Polish cuisine, run vlogs for children, and encourage people to visit Poland as soon as it is possible.

Poland at your home

The MFA, in cooperation with state, government and non-governmental institutions, encouraged Polish nationals living abroad to participate in free educational and cultural online programmes, and online meetings with Polish history. We would like “e-Poland” to stay in Polish homes - both in Poland and abroad - for good, helping to strengthen bonds with the homeland. The MFA uses modern technologies to inspire Poles’ creativity and to highlight that the pandemic can bring us closer together. As part of the campaign, the MFA announced a contest for children and youth titled “My most interesting meeting with Poland online”. The initiative is a work in progress, as more and more institutions inform about their online offer, including the Polish History Museum, the Śląsk Folk and Dance Ensemble, the Sybir Memorial Museum, and the National Ethnographic Museum.

Poland’s assistance in numbers

Poland has earmarked a total of over PLN 400 million (nearly EUR 90 million) to combat the COVID-19 pandemic across the world. This includes funds for research on the coronavirus, including the vaccine, drugs, and tests. Approximately PLN 56 million have been allocated to development assistance and humanitarian aid. The funds come both from the Polish Aid coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as part of its structure and mechanisms,  and from state-owned companies that support Polish humanitarian and development activities. Poland has brought various forms of aid to counteract and mitigate the effects of the pandemic in over 50 countries across the globe.

The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to thank everyone who is engaged in helping others in Poland and across the world during the COVID-19 pandemic!

MFA Press Office

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