A MERCY mission by kind-hearted residents is due to depart to help hundreds of stranded refugees on the border between Poland and Belarus.

Kim Campbell, of Gunnislake, is appealing for help from people and businesses in East Cornwall and West Devon to provide donations to help families trapped between Poland and Belarus with no country to provide a safe haven. The refugees originally fled poverty and tryranny in other countries, but were not welcome in Belarus or neighbouring Poland. As a result they have been trapped in what is effectively a so-called no-man’s land between the two, with new fences erected and extra guards put on the borders.

In this ‘open-air prison’ zone in Belarus refugees are having to try and survive in the freezing winter in tents and off the land.

The plight of the displaced people has touched the hearts of Kim and his Polish friend Adam Wrobel who are taking a donated minibus stuffed full of aid to Poland on Friday, January 12.

Kim said: “It’s a dreadful situation out there.  There are many hundreds of ordinary people who are effectively trapped in a no-man’s land between two countries who don’t want them to come across their borders. They have nowhere to go because Poland has added security guards to their border with Belarus and the Belarus president is not letting them go back into his country because they have a very hardline on immigration, especially for refugees.

“Poland has also become more right wing since its elections and is not keen on any more immigration. So, these vulnerable people’s plight has got even worse, they were already desperate and is why they were leaving their home countries in the first place.”

Kim, who has previously taken aid to Ukraine during its invasion by Russia, added: “Because journalists are not allowed in the border zone between these two countries, the migrants’ story is not being told. Meanwhile, the world’s attention is focussed on Gaza and has been on Ukraine.

“These refugees are living in the woods, unable to move to the EU and relative safety, being pushed both ways by the Belarus and Polish border forces. There’s no food, drinking water, shelter or medicines. There  are reports of women preparing baby and children’s  formulas with untreated marshy water and the Belarus border guards profiting by selling fresh bottled water to the refugees.  There are also young children, women and whole families dying due to hypothermia and starvation. 

“People have been very kind with lots of winter clothes donated, so Adam and myself are taking much needed humanitarian aid out to Poland in early January when we will will deliver everything right to Białowieża. This is two miles from the Belarus border where the volunteers’ centre is. We are doing this directly so there will be no middle men handling the donations and supplies. 

“We have contacts with the volunteers which will make sure all the humanitarian aid donated gets to the refugees were it is needed urgently, the volunteers go into woods around the border to Belarus and help refugees as much as possible to stay alive.” 

Donors are asked to provide the following items: two-man tents. sleeping bags. winter clothes, boots/shoes, blankets, high calorie foods, first aid kits, bandages, pain-killers, orthopaedic splints, thermal flasks, head-worn lamps, torches, mobile phone power banks and old working mobile phones. Anyone wanting to help with donations they have are asked to contact Kim  on 07791 297351 or email: [email protected] or Adam on WhatsApp or by Facebook messenger.