The Role of Community Resilience Dimensions of Agency and Resources in Community Resilience to Crises and Uncertainty in Polish Border Communities
Keywords:response to crises and uncertainty, refugee crisis, humanitarian crisis, community resilience, risk perception
The aim of the study is to analyze the role of community resilience in Polish border communities in response to crises and uncertainty caused by Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24th February in 2022. Therefore, the main tasks of the research are to firstly gather knowledge of the core dimensions of community resilience, namely agency and resources, to see if they have developed and enhanced community resilience to this crisis and uncertainty and secondly to study how individuals internalize risk and how this perception affects their response to crises and uncertainty. For this purpose, two cases of responses made by two Polish border communities, in Suwałki, known as Suwałki Gap, and in Biecz were analyzed. Interviews in three interview groups of volunteers, community members and the municipality were conducted with respondents who were privately or professionally involved in helping Ukrainian refugees arriving in Poland. Results of the qualitative analysis reveal that despite the atmosphere of growing uncertainty about how the developments of the Russia-Ukraine conflict may impact Poland, in response to refugee crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, both Polish border communities did manage to activate their agency which was exercised mainly as a natural reaction to help leading to an instant decision to act in order to help. Critical resource in this response was information which was shared, updated and distributed among the groups of helpers. Also, a range of emotions experienced during this unprecedented crisis, did not prevent those communities from finding ways to secure other necessary resources which were not available or accessible until the crisis, in order to help people in need. The case of the responses to the refugee and humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24th February 2022 made by communities in Poland and other receiving EU countries, may serve as a vast territory for academic research on the role of community resilience and its core dimensions.
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