Tuesday 31 May 2022

10th UIC Refugee Task force meeting on 31 May 2022

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The 10th UIC Refugee Task force meeting was attended remotely on 31 May 2022 by around 40 participants from across Europe, with representatives from UIC member railways and partner organisations.

Marc Guigon, UIC Passenger Director, Coordinator Middle-East and Latin American Regions, Coordinator UIC Refugee and Covid-19 Task Forces, together with Vanessa Pérez Miranda, UIC Senior Passenger Advisor, welcomed the participants.

Anton Pylypchuk representing Ukrainian Railways (UZ), reported the still tough situation in Ukraine with missile attacks targeting railway infrastructure causing fatalities and injuries. A Project led by the Office of the President of Ukraine provides on-time cash assistance for people fleeing.

Besides the destruction of the infrastructure, Ukraine has to deal with great unemployment: 4.8 million people have lost their jobs and it may exceed 7 million unless the war stops.

But the good news is that UZ handles 357 freight cars with grain through the border per day and will receive 10 000 tons of diesel fuel. They have succeeded in transporting 100 000 tons of humanitarian aid since February.

UZ has started to run convenient returns from Poland to Ukraine plus a night train.

Indira Khara shared the latest news from UITP and her meeting with the CEO of Lviv Metro at IT-Trans (digital solutions for public transit industry). He explained what is currently going on with regard to the humanitarian aspect, and reiterated that the best way to help Ukraine at the moment is to provide spare parts and materials.

Magdalena Kujacinska from PKP then explained that free train travel is now limited to border travel and only women, children and men over 60. In total 390K people have crossed the border by train.

Since mid-May more people are heading back than leaving Ukraine, there is not even enough tickets for people.

A round table discussion then followed to discuss the current situation per impacted country and company. Updates were given from Greece, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Italy, Latvia, France, UK, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

In conclusion, it appears that the trend in Europe is to stop free travel according to a lot of countries, and a lot of refugees seems to be going back to Ukraine.

Members are encouraged to share their thoughts, either by writing to the internal UIC Refugee Task Force team refugees@uic.org or by posting in the UIC Extranet dedicated workspace.

A Task Force LinkedIn group is open to members. Feel free to join the group and share your thoughts: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/14061600/

A dedicated webpage of the Refugee Task Force is available on the UIC website: https://uic.org/refugees/

The next Task Force Refugee web-conference is scheduled to take place on Monday 20 June 2022.

For any further questions or proposals for contributions to these Task Force meetings, please email: refugees@uic.org

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