Refugee Center in Łomża is Closing
According to the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, it is official that the refugee center in the city of Łomża, Poland is going to close, but the final decision about the other two refugee centers in Białystok will be declared on Friday.
Malika Abdulvakhabova, vice-president of Fundacja Ocalanie (Foundation Salvation) which is assisting refugees, said that residents of the center are going to packing. All the men are searching for rental flats for their families in town. She found that everyone wants to stay in Łomża, where their children go to school. The people know the city and are acclimated to it. The decision about the liquidation of the center has been spoken about for a long time, but until now, it was not been confirmed. The residents are now terrified as they have a very short period of time to move out.
The rumblings about the liquidation of the three reception centers in the Podlaskie region of Poland came in September. On Friday, the Office for Foreigners will announce officially, which centers in the country will remain open and which ones will be closed. As stated, we already know that the Łomża center has no chance.
“Residents will be informed that they could choose a different residency, only if there are vacancies. They can also live offsite with benefits,” said Ewa Piechota, the spokeswoman of the Office for Foreigners.
These benefits – to cover their own costs of stay – are dependent on the number of people in a family. It has been explained that the Office will pay 25 zł (around 6 euro) per day if you are single; 20 zł per day each for two people; 15 zł per day each if your family consists of three people; and 12.5 zł per day each if your family consists of four or more people. In this situation the refugees would also be provided with primary health care. All the refugees from the Łomża center want to benefit from this opportunity. The alternative for them is the refugee center in Czerwony Bór.
“It is not integration. It is hard to talk about the situation pertaining to reception centers located in small towns. Czerwony Bór is near Łomża and is hidden in a forest. Their neighbors are just a few Poles. There are only two buses during the day and the bus stop is on the road Łomża – Zambrów. From there you have to walk three miles to reach the town. Also, education is another problem. Those children have adapted to schools, now they have to start a new school and it will reflect on their education badly. The most important problem for refugees who decide to stay in Łomża will be to find a rental flat. These people are foreigners and Poles do not want them to rent apartments. How can they live in this kind of suspense?” said Kamil Kamiński, the leader of the Fundacja Ocalenie.
*Text was translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco