The Polish sister city of Tyler, Texas has become a receiving point for hundreds of Ukrainian citizens fleeing their home country after the invasion ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Jelenia Góra, a city of more than 78 thousand residents in southwestern Poland, has mobilized its municipal government to provide humanitarian services in response to the conflict.
It has also reached out to Tyler, a sister city since 1993, requesting aid for refugees.
“Jelenia Góra has become a centre of assistance for our twin towns in Ukraine, but we are also trying to help people who have come to Jelenia Góra as refugees,” said Michał Kryla, Assistant to the Mayor of Jelenia Góra, in a message sent to the Tyler Sister Cities Organization.
“Poles and inhabitants of Jelenia Góra have become very involved in helping the Ukrainians, but with the escalation of the conflict, our help is becoming a drop in the ocean. That is why we are asking for your help.”
By March 7, more than a week after Russian troops began their incursion into Ukraine, the mayor of Jelenia Góra reported more than 190 Ukrainian refugees had already arrived via the city’s rail station.
Mayor Jerzy Łużniak posted on social media that he expected that number to increase drastically as an influx of refugees cross Poland’s eastern border. This week, the number of refugees in the city totaled more than 2,000.
According to updated numbers from the United Nations, of the more than 2.9 million Ukrainians who have left their homes since Feb. 24, approximately 1.8 million are now seeking refuge in Poland, more than any other country.
The city of Jelenia Góra is collecting donations of medical supplies, food, clothing, personal care products, and sleeping bags for Ukrainian citizens.
The city’s public school system has opened some of its campuses to Ukrainian children with refugee status.
Temporary housing for refugees has been set up at a sports arena and hotels around the city, according to a post by the city’s Facebook account.
On Twitter, Łużniak also announced the termination of a sister city relationship with the Russian city of of Vladimir, citing solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
Tyler Sister Cities is now collecting monetary donations, which it says will be directly wired to Jelenia Góra for humanitarian relief efforts.
“Our hearts have gone out to the Ukrainian people during the recent attacks on their homeland,” said Brent Pemberton, president of the Tyler Sister Cities organization. “We are hoping that working with our sister city in Poland, Jelenia Gora, we can send aid to those in need. Our hope is to live up to the Sister Cities International motto, ‘Everybody has the power to make a difference.’”
Donations can be made here.
Tyler mayor Don Warren is expected to announce his support for the relief efforts at a press conference scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of KLTV/KTRE-TV or Gray Television. They are solely the opinion of the author. All content © Copyright 2022 Lane Luckie