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Seeking refuge from the horrors of war in Krakow


FLEEING TO SAFETY Thousands of Ukrainians are arriving at Krakow Train Station in Poland every day. Pic: Karen Cox

Michael Gallagher of The Mayo News is on the Polish/Ukrainian border

There’s a platform in Krakow Central Railway Station where the horrors of humanity come down the track every single day. Maimed and injured – displaced and desperate – frightened and fleeing. Ordinary people ripped out of their beautiful lives, running from death with just the clothes on their backs.
This week, The Mayo News stood on that Polish platform and witnessed that unending stream of humanity leave their lives, their loves and their liberty behind as man’s inhumanity to man destroyed everything, they held dear.
Back in Mayo, we think we know what those people are experiencing – we don’t. The terror – the trauma – the torrent of disaster only becomes truly obvious when one looks into the eyes of those coming off the trains.
Those eyes carry a cargo of disbelief, exhaustion and despair – those eyes hold secrets never to be retold – those eyes guard the souls of the terrified. Those eyes are the most haunting one will ever see.
On Tuesday next, we will endeavour to tell our readers what it’s like to stand beside a woman as she speaks on the phone with her husband who’s about to die as Russians approach; we will endeavour to tell of the 82-year-old gynaecologist who travelled from Spain to treat the terrorised, traumatised and the broken-hearted; we will endeavour to take our readers to the edge of devastation, death and desolation. We will record the history of our world as we see it.
Those of us fortunate enough to work in The Mayo News are driven by a desire to advocate for people. We strive to do that every day and it’s a constant companion for each and every one of us. On Tuesday we will advocate for the people who stream into Krakow Central Station and the millions like them who leave their beloved Ukraine behind. Their stories deserve to be heard.

Michael Gallagher is accompanied on the Poland/Ukraine border by photographer Karen Cox.


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