Millions of refugees are fleeing Ukraine amid Russian attacks. They outnumber the population of almost all US cities, including Chicago.
“I have worked in refugee crises for almost 40 years, and I have rarely seen such an incredibly rapid exodus of people,” said Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner of the United Nations Refugee Agency,
The countries surrounding Ukraine have all received refugees, most of whom have gone to Poland, the third largest Slavic country after Russia and Ukraine. Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Russia and Moldova have each received more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.
Living in a war-torn country is dangerous in the face of Russian military attacks and shelling, but there is a trek to go. A six-year-old from Ukraine who arrived in Poland described his five-day visit to the border as “bomb, bum, bum”.
At least 1,333 civilians have been wounded and at least 816 killed in the war in Ukraine since the Russian offensive began on February 24, according to UN estimates, although the world body expects the number of casualties to be higher. The number is more than the fixed toll.
‘Bomb, Bomb, Bomb’: Ukraine refugees describe painful trip to Poland
Many Ukrainian refugees do not live in the countries where they initially sought asylum. For example, by March 16 about two-thirds of people who entered Moldova from Ukraine have left the country and continue to live in Romania, according to the International Organization for Migration. Because borders are open within Europe’s Schengen area – which includes Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and most Western European countries – it is more difficult to track where refugees leave these countries.
While many towns and cities have welcomed refugees, some are reaching capacity. The mayor of Krakow, one of Poland’s largest cities, said it was reaching its limit in terms of the number of people it could accommodate, and that it wanted to direct refugees to places outside the city. . The prime minister of the Czech Republic, which does not border Ukraine but has received more than 270,000 Ukrainian refugees, has said of his country, “We must admit that we are on the very edge when we are without Can accept any problem.”
In addition to those leaving the country, the International Organization for Migration estimated as of Wednesday that some 6.5 million people were displaced within Ukraine.
Thousands of asylum seekers continue to leave Ukraine every day, totaling more than three million. Due to the imposition of martial law, the Ukrainian government temporarily prohibited men aged 18 to 60 from leaving the country. This means that most of the refugees are women, children and the elderly.
Financial aid is one of the best ways to help Ukraine. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees provides assistance to refugees through emergency shelters, repair of shelling damaged homes, emergency cash assistance and psychological support. Donate to UNHCR’s relief efforts on its website.
To help Ukraine find other organizations for assistance: 9 Ways You Can Help Ukraine