The number of Ukrainians who have fled their homes since Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year has reached 14 million, according to the latest United Nations data.
Addressing the UN Security Council this weekFilippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, described the mass exodus of refugees that began on February 24 as “the fastest and largest displacement in decades”.
He warned that with “one of the harshest winters in the world” soon approaching, Ukrainians were about to face “extremely difficult circumstances” and more help was needed.
“Humanitarian organizations have dramatically stepped up their response, but much more needs to be done, starting with ending this senseless war,” the UN refugee chief said. “Unfortunately, we see the opposite, and the destruction wrought by strikes against civilian infrastructure, which is occurring as we speak, is rapidly making the humanitarian response appear like a drop in the ocean of need,” said he added.
Since November 1, 7,785,514 Ukrainian refugees had fled their country and were registered throughout Europe. Poland and Germany have taken in the most refugees – more than a million each – followed by the Czech Republic, which took in 455,731. Other countries that have taken in significant numbers of Ukrainians are the United States , the United Kingdom, France, Turkey, Italy and Spain, which have received between 100,000 and 300,000 refugees each.
Neighboring countries such as Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Moldova, which are all part of the United Nations Regional Refugee Response Planas well as Poland, have also taken in tens of thousands of refugees.
During his speech, Grandi praised the European Union’s response to the crisis and said that “we have seen an open, well-managed and above all shared refugee response that has belied many frequently repeated statements by some politicians: that Europe is full; that relocation is impossible; that there is no public support for refugees.
In spring, the Biden administration announced a private sponsorship program to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees to the United States In just over four months after the program was launched, 50,832 Ukrainians had arrived in the United States through the initiative, CBS News reported. From March to September, United States Customs and Border Protection officers encountered more than 91,000 Ukrainians along the US-Mexico border.
In addition to those who have left the war-torn country, more than 6.9 million people are estimated to be internally displaced in Ukraine, according to United Nations refugee agency.
A further 2.8 million refugees were registered crossing the border into Russia. In a recent analysis of the Ukrainian refugee crisis, Erol Yayboke said that some of these Ukrainian refugees “declare having voluntarily crossed Russia to finally join the European Union”. Yayboke is Director and Senior Fellow of the Fragility and Mobility Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, DC think tank. However, he noted that there had been “troublesome reports of forcible transfers of Ukrainians to Russia or Russian-occupied areas as Moscow attempted to rid eastern Ukraine of people sympathetic to Kyiv”.
These allegations were raised during a UN Security Council meeting in September by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Greenfield said various sources, including the Russian government, indicated that Russian authorities interrogated, detained and forcibly deported approximately 900,000 to 1.6 million Ukrainians. However, Russia has denied these allegations.
A report published by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) last week offered insight into the profiles, needs and intentions of some of the Ukrainian refugees in Europe. With the help of its partners in Belarus, Bulgaria, Hungary and other European countries, UNHCR conducted more than 34,000 interviews between May and September 2022 at various crossing points, transport hubs, reception and transit, as well as assistance points in major cities. , says the agency.
According to the report, the majority of Ukrainian refugees are women who traveled with their children or elderly parents. This was partly because men between the ages of 18 and 60 eligible to serve in the military were banned from leaving the country and asked to join the fight.
The refugees interviewed had a high level of education with 46% having a university degree or higher, and 29% having vocational training. They also had diverse professional backgrounds, particularly in services and trade-related sectors.
In terms of accommodation, the majority of respondents, 56%, stayed in hosted or rented accommodation, while 29% still stayed in collective sites, planned sites and reception or transit centres. The remaining 12% had relatives in the host countries.
The three most urgent needs of the refugees were money, employment and housing, and they most wanted to receive information on financial assistance services and work opportunities, followed by medical care and legal status.
Finally, according to the report, the majority of respondents expressed the wish to stay in the host country in the near future for security reasons.
Given “the likely protracted nature of the military situation,” Grandi said his agency was preparing for further population movements in and out of Ukraine. He also drew attention to other emergencies happening around the world.
“It’s not just Ukraine where the conflict has driven people from their homes. In the past 12 months alone, UNHCR has responded to 37 emergencies around the world. Thirty-seven. Yet other crises fail to capture the same international attention, outrage, resources, action,” he said.
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