Empathy and Support: Deputy FM Reaches Out to Overseas Vietnamese in Poland After Tragic Shopping Centre Fire

Upon hearing the news of the devastating fire, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, who also chairs the State Commission for Overseas Vietnamese, wasted no time in reaching out to the affected Vietnamese citizens and organizations. In a heartfelt letter, she expressed her deepest sympathies and offered support to those impacted by this tragic event.

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Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang expressed her deepest sympathies to Vietnamese nationals affected by the devastating fire that ravaged the Marywilska 44 shopping center in Warsaw, Poland, on May 12. In her capacity as Chairwoman of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, Hang sent a letter on May 13, conveying her profound condolences to the impacted families.

Hang’s message emphasized her belief in the power of unity and compassion within the Vietnamese community, businesses, and organizations, both in Poland and worldwide. This collective support, she asserted, will be instrumental in helping those affected to navigate through these challenging times, overcome their difficulties, and rebuild their lives and livelihoods.

Marywilska 44 shopping center was home to an estimated 400 Vietnamese small business owners.

The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry has instructed the Embassy in Poland to collaborate closely with local authorities to ensure the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of those impacted by the fire. A key priority for the embassy is to expedite assistance with essential documents, helping affected families restore normalcy as swiftly as possible.

The complex employed hundreds of Vietnamese workers in stalls, nail salons, and restaurants. In the aftermath of the fire, Vietnamese Ambassador to Poland, Ha Hoang Hai, announced additional support measures, including dedicated consular services for citizens who lost their documents.

Moreover, the embassy plans to engage with Warsaw’s leaders to explore further support options, such as document issuance, financial assistance, job placement, and a thorough investigation into the fire’s cause.

For immediate assistance, the Vietnamese Embassy in Poland can be reached at the following hotlines: 48 782 257 359 and 48 601 925 288.

Demonstrating their solidarity, several Vietnamese enterprises in Poland have offered to receive those who lost their jobs and assist affected businesses in transitioning to new models. Additionally, a community-support board has been established by the Vietnamese associations in the country to aid citizens in their recovery from this tragic incident.

Marywilska 44 is a prominent retail center in Poland, housing approximately 1,400 commercial units. About one-third of these were operated by 400 Vietnamese businesses, encompassing nearly 600 stalls. The center also employed hundreds of Vietnamese workers in nail salons and restaurants.

The fire, which broke out in the early hours of May 12, rapidly spread due to the large volume of flammable goods and dry weather conditions. Firefighters responded promptly, arriving on the scene about 10 minutes after the alarm was raised. Unfortunately, the fire caused extensive damage, leaving almost the entire shopping center in ruins.

The Vietnamese Embassy in Poland took immediate action upon learning of the fire, dispatching a working group to the scene and coordinating with the Vietnamese Association in Poland to assess the situation and initiate citizen protection measures.

Ambassador Ha Hoang Hai meets with Mariusz Frankowski, Governor of Mazowsze Province, on May 13, 2024, to discuss the fire at the Marywilska 44 shopping complex.

During a meeting with Mariusz Frankowski, Governor of Mazowieckie Province, Ambassador Hai conveyed the significant losses incurred by Vietnamese small businesses due to the fire. The governor assured that he would provide support within his authority for the re-issuance of residence documents for those affected by the fire, as well as those in the process of obtaining residence permits and work visas.

Governor Frankowski requested the Vietnamese Embassy to act as a liaison and coordinate with the province regarding the list of citizens requiring these documents. He also affirmed that Polish authorities are investigating the cause of the fire and pledged to continue working with relevant parties and the embassy to provide step-by-step assistance to affected traders in areas such as financial support, taxes, insurance, and job stability.

Hannah Nguyen