World-famous chef and humanitarian, José Andrés, says he’s traveling to Poland to aid displaced Ukrainians fleeing the invasion by brutal Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. The World Central Kitchen founder tweeted Thursday night that he’s “arriving to Poland to see what we can do.”
”With boots on the ground we will learn more about what and how we will help,” he responded to a user asking how they can make a donation specifically aiding Ukrainian refugee efforts. “But if we are needed, we will be there,” he continued.
The need will be great. Officials have warned that a full invasion of the independent nation by Russian aggressors could produce at least a million refugees.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service noted that a number of Central European nations, including Poland, “indicated they are preparing for an influx of refugees in light of the region’s close geographical and cultural ties to Ukraine,” a statement said. It further noted that “approximately 5,000 U.S. troops from the 82nd Airborne Division were deployed to Poland last week and are working with Polish forces to establish processing centers for those expected to flee.”
There’s no further details on World Central Kitchen’s proposed efforts in Poland, but it’s well-known that the chef, the organization, and its volunteers have carried out well-coordinated and successful work all over the world for more than a decade now. More recently, the organization was feeding Kentuckians following a massive tornado last summer.
“We have teams all over, scouting and bringing meals, and learning what the folks may need,” Andrés said at the time. “Trying to provide meals to those who need it every single day.”
Here in the U.S., nearly 200 organizations have urged the Biden administration to issue deportation relief to Ukrainians currently in the U.S. and who lack legal status, as well as to international students. The administration is reportedly considering either Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). Advocates are further urging the administration to consider Special Student Relief (SSR).
“[C]onditions in Ukraine merit TPS and SSR designations due to armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions as a return to the country would pose a serious threat to the personal safety of Ukrainians,” they said.
“In going to war against Ukraine, Russia is creating a crisis that risks displacement and suffering on a scale that could surpass any seen in Europe in decades,” Refugees International President Eric Schwartz said in a statement received by Daily Kos.
“Millions of people are in danger. As efforts to deter Russia fail, governments of the world must be prepared to provide assistance and protection for people who are forced to flee, as well as those who may become civilian victims of military action.”
“The European Union, United States, and like-minded countries must work through the United Nations and in close coordination with local civil society to deliver life-saving aid to those who need it,” Schwartz continued. “All parties must allow unimpeded access to humanitarians delivering this aid.”