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Rotavirus hits the Centre

With so many people packed into rooms where 100 or more people are sleeping side by side in cots, it's not shocking that a wave of a rotavirus hit the humanitarian centre this past week. The Polish management of the centre had to make a decision as to whether to let the refugees there stay if they still hadn't found a further destination, risking more people getting sick, or force people to move to another location. After about 4 hours of rumors and speculation, including that the whole international desk area might be asked to leave, they decided to send all the refugees to other centres and disinfect the building completely. The complication for our teams: most of the international desks had been registering people for bus travel in the days ahead. We had a "meeting" (one person from each country in a side hallway) and they determined that the people actually scheduled with a seat on a bus the next day could evacuate during the disinfecting and sleep the night there. 

But that creates a logistical problem. They needed to start cleaning the rooms--so next step is everyone with scheduled buses had to count the beds in each room, find a room that matched their numbers, and move everyone waiting for a bus to those rooms so all others could be cleaned and cleared. 

People were distraught, coming to any volunteer and asking "What am I going to do--I have 2 small children--where do we go?" or "I'm signed up on the waiting list for Germany but I didn't get scheduled yet and now they are busing me to another centre. Can I get a bus there? I was supposed to have accommodations waiting through this bus!". No one had any real answers. 

This experience reveals that even when refugees finally get to a place where they can sleep and try to plan the next step they could just be told to leave or bused eslewhere... with an hour notice. 

 

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