Watch The devastating methods girls undergo on the Poland-Belarus border | Refugees News – Al Jazeera English News

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Names marked with an asterisk have been modified to guard identities

Sokolka, Poland – When 28-year-old Shirin*, an Iraqi Kurd, crossed the border from Belarus into Poland together with her seven-year-old son Ali*, she didn’t count on to finish up unconscious and motionless within the freezing woods.

“Me and my son survived only by miracle,” Shirin advised Al Jazeera from a hospital in a Polish border city, a day after she was loaded into an ambulance.

Her physique was lined in accidents and blisters from the chilly.

“I will never forget what I have seen in the woods,” she mentioned. “I’ve seen so many kids and infants there. Their moms had been screaming and praying for a miracle. The adults may barely survive, so what likelihood do infants have?

“These images will be haunting me until I die.”

Shirin fled the Kurdish area of Iraq with Ali, her solely baby, and her husband Afran* on October 22.

However when Belarusian police noticed them making an attempt to cross the border into Poland, they intervened and pushed Afran again deeper into Belarus, based on her testimony.

Shirin crossed the border alone and spent 21 days within the woods with Ali.

Frostbites are widespread accidents sustained by those that endure chilly temperatures [Sara Cincurova/Al Jazeera]

“My son was crying: ‘Please, my father, please, my father,’ but we didn’t know if he was alive or dead. We ended up alone, freezing, with no food.”

Shirin cried and shook as she advised Al Jazeera her story. Each her legs and one arm had been bandaged. She was unable to stroll.

She nonetheless doesn’t know the place her husband is.

‘I don’t know the place she is’

1000’s of girls and youngsters have made makes an attempt to achieve the European Union by getting into Poland in latest weeks, as a migration disaster that started in August escalates.

Crowds of individuals at the moment are stranded between the border that separates Belarus and Poland. They travelled to Minsk, the Belarusian capital, on a promise that they’d be capable to breach the fence and enter the EU nation.

Poland and its Western allies say Belarus inspired individuals, largely from the Center East, to the nation in an try and push them in the direction of the border and destabilise Europe – an act of revenge for Western sanctions on the administration of President Alexander Lukashenko.

There is no such thing as a official information in regards to the numbers of individuals on the Belarus-Poland border, however Agnieszka Kosowicz, head of the Polish Migration Discussion board, an NGO supporting refugees and migrants in Poland, advised Al Jazeera that “2,666 girls have utilized for asylum in Poland this yr alone, out of a complete of 6,697″.

She mentioned whereas girls’s tales are lined much less typically by the media than these of males, girls symbolize a major proportion of the migrating inhabitants.

“We all know for certain that ladies are current on the border primarily based on native volunteers’ on a regular basis testimonies.

“Volunteers talk about women so weak they cannot walk or attend to their children, about women who cry over their children who are hungry, and women who mourn lost babies – children they lost as a result of miscarriage, or literally lost their children while walking in the forest at night,” she mentioned.

Azin Govand*, a 27-year-old asylum seeker from the Iraqi Kurdish area who’s now in Minsk, has not seen her three-year-old daughter Shewa* or her husband since Belarusian authorities allegedly separated the household on the border.

On the identical time, Azin mentioned the authorities pushed her again into Belarus.

“I haven’t heard from my husband and daughter for more than seven days,” Azin advised Al Jazeera by telephone, from a Belarusian quantity.

“I recently saw a picture of a baby girl dressed in the same clothes as my daughter on social media. The girl was lying on the floor near the border, face down,” she mentioned. “It could have been my daughter. I don’t know where she is.”

Kosowicz mentioned a number of households have been cut up up on the border or turn into separated within the forests.

This contains, for instance, when a mother or father is taken to hospital whereas the kids are left within the forests, or individuals getting misplaced, or as persons are pushed again by border officers on each side of the frontier.

Amid the chaos, instances of miscarriage have been documented. Different girls have been discovered with younger infants with extreme medical issues.

A one-year-old Syrian child boy is believed to be the youngest sufferer of the refugee disaster on the border. The reason for his reported dying has not but been established.

Nazanin*, an Iraqi Kurdish lady who was not too long ago rescued from the Polish woodlands close to the Belarus border after having spent a month there, advised Al Jazeera that “only God saved her [seven-month-old] baby from dying.”

She and her husband had fled Zakho, a area close to the border with Turkey and Syria, as a result of they had been uncovered to capturing and shelling.

“The baby was freezing,” Nazanin mentioned. “She was crying due to the chilly each night time.

“We only had a T-shirt and one sweater for the baby, no other clothes, and no nappies,” she mentioned.

“We were told the journey would be short, and ran out of food quickly. We haven’t eaten for 10 days, and walked seven or eight kilometres (four to five miles) without shoes,” she mentioned, pointing to her frostbitten toes.

“During all that time, we had to drink dirty water given to us by Belarusian guards, or water that we found in the swamps. We were all sick.”

‘Horrific’ scene

Karol Wilczynski, director of the Salam Lab NGO working towards Islamophobia in Poland, who has been serving to the stranded refugees, advised Al Jazeera that he has seen a number of girls and infants in want.

“The most horrific and moving scene I have ever witnessed was that of a 49-year old grandmother with her two-year-old granddaughter,” Wilczynski mentioned. “When we found them, the grandmother was unconscious and had severe hypothermia – only 34 degrees (93.2F) of body temperature. By some miracle, the baby survived.”

He mentioned an emergency providers operator refused to ship an ambulance and threatened to name border guards “to deal with the refugees”.

“We then called Border Aid, a group of paramedic volunteers, who said the grandmother would have died if she had stayed there any longer. I cannot imagine what would have happened to the baby,” Wilczynski mentioned.

He has been volunteering with Grupa Granica, an umbrella organisation offering help on the border which supported 1,000 individuals from November 8 to 12.

“Out of the 1,000 people, 10 percent were children, and more than 25 percent were women,” he mentioned. “Out of the remaining 65 percent of men, a huge part were vulnerable.”

Sarkawt and his kids after being rescued [Sara Cincurova/Al Jazeera]

Sarkawt*, 36, spent a couple of month within the woods, together with his spouse Nazdar* and their three kids aged six, eight, and 9.

The chilly and lack of drinkable water hit Nazdar, who collapsed and was hospitalised.

The kids suffered frostbite.

“Even though we don’t know what will happen to [Nazdar], I thank God every day for saving all three of my babies,” Sarkawt advised Al Jazeera.

“In the woods, I took my jacket off and put it on my babies. Sometimes, I tried to make a fire, but sometimes, it was too swampy, and I couldn’t,” he mentioned.

“In the woods, we saw many women and children,” he mentioned. “On the Belarusian side, the guards would sell us food and water but would ask for astronomical prices. They would sell us a bottle of water or one biscuit for the children for $50 because they knew the mothers would pay,” he mentioned.

Kosowicz mentioned she is involved with one lady who delivered untimely twins after crossing into Poland.

“I also remember women who could not take a few steps away from the group to urinate, and women who had their periods and could not attend to their basic hygienic needs in privacy,” she mentioned.

“Each time we hear a new story, it is dramatic.”

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