Russia-Ukraine war: Over 5 million Ukrainians fled country so far, says UN

  • Women and children account for 90 percent of those who fled, with men aged 18 to 60 eligible for military call-up and unable to leave.
A man tries to extinguish a fire following a Russian bombardment at a residential neighborhood in Kharkiv, Ukraine (AP)
A man tries to extinguish a fire following a Russian bombardment at a residential neighborhood in Kharkiv, Ukraine (AP)
Published on Apr 20, 2022 04:38 PM IST
Copy Link

More than five million Ukrainians have now fled their country following the Russian invasion, the United Nations said Wednesday, in Europe's fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said 5,034,439 Ukrainians had left since Russia invaded on February 24 -- an increase of 53,850 over Tuesday's total.

"Eight weeks into the conflict, we are at five million and counting, with five million unique stories of loss and trauma," said deputy UNHCR chief Kelly T. Clements.

The UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM) says more than 218,000 third-country nationals -- largely students and migrant workers -- have also escaped to neighbouring countries, meaning more than 5.25 million people in all have fled Ukraine since the war began.

Women and children account for 90 percent of those who fled, with men aged 18 to 60 eligible for military call-up and unable to leave.

Nearly two-thirds of all Ukrainian children have been forced from their homes, including those still inside the country.

"While the sheer scale and speed of displacement is immense, we must not lose sight of what these figures mean," Clements told the UN Security Council from Hungary on Tuesday.

Also read: ‘Immediately lay down arms’: Russia's new warning after battle of Donbas starts

"Women, children, and the aged, have left their homes, their lives, their sons, their fathers and husbands.

"Each one of the millions of displaced are forced to make impossible, heartbreaking decisions and have left everything, almost everything, they hold dear."

More than 2.8 million Ukrainian refugees have fled to Poland. Three-quarters of a million have reached Romania.

Clements paid tribute to the humanity shown towards refugees in host countries, with communities and individuals rallying to provide food, shelter, medicine and transportation.

"This inspiring response is surpassed only by the strength and composure of refugees themselves, who continue to exude both courage and resilience," she said.

UNHCR figures show nearly 645,000 Ukrainians fled in February, with nearly 3.4 million doing so in March and just shy of a million leaving so far this month.

Beyond the refugees, the IOM estimates 7.1 million people are displaced within in Ukraine.

Before the invasion, Ukraine had a population of 37 million in the regions under government control, excluding Russia-annexed Crimea and the pro-Russian separatist-controlled regions in the east.

IOM chief Antonio Vitorino warned that more people were expected to flee their homes as the war carries on.

"We remain deeply concerned about the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Ukraine as we anticipate an increase in displacements, internal as well as external," he told the Security Council.

Also read: Diplomacy must prevail as only viable option: India at UNSC on Russia-Ukraine situation

Vitorino said that in mass displacement situations, up to 30 percent of the population could be expected to experience some form of negative psychological impact and mental health problems.

"However, as the war continues and intensifies, psychosocial needs will undoubtedly further increase," he said.

"We remain particularly concerned about the situation of women and children who have fled Ukraine or who are internally displaced," Vitorino added.

"Trafficking in persons was, unfortunately, a known phenomenon in the region, and as observed in past crises, large-scale displacement, family separation, and disruption of civil protection and community networks render populations vulnerable to violence, exploitation, and abuse."


Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • People rally in support of abortion rights Saturday, July 2, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Texas clinics halt abortions after state high court ruling

    The Friday night ruling stopped a three-day-old order by a Houston judge who said clinics could resume abortions up to six weeks into pregnancy. The following day, the American Civil Liberties Union said it doubted that any abortions were now being provided in a state of nearly 30 million people.

  • Other places from which Google will not store location data include fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, and weight loss clinics.

    Google to delete user location history on US abortion clinic visits

    "If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit," Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post. "This change will take effect in the coming weeks."

  • Professor Ajay Agrawal, who was honoured with the Order of Canada in the 2022 list. (Credit: University of Toronto)

    Two Indo-Canadian academics honoured with Order of Canada

    Two Indo-Canadian academics, working on research to advance the betterment of mankind, have been honoured with one of the country's most prestigious awards, the Order of Canada. Their names were in the list published by the office of the governor-general of Canada Mary Simon. Both have been invested (as the bestowal of the awards is described) into the Order as a Member. They are professors Ajay Agrawal and Parminder Raina.

  • SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk.

    Elon Musk's Twitter hiatus, in 2nd week now,  generates curiosity 

    The world's richest person, Elon Musk, has not tweeted in about 10 days and it can't go unnoticed. The 51-year-old business tycoon has 100 million followers on the microblogging site, which he is planning to buy. Since April, he has been making headlines for the $44 billion deal and his comments and concerns about the presence of a large number of fake accounts on Twitter.

  • A Taliban fighter stands guard at a news conference about a new command of hijab by Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

    Taliban's reclusive supreme leader attends gathering in Kabul: Report

    The Taliban's reclusive supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada joined a large gathering of nationwide religious leaders in Kabul on Friday, the state news agency said, adding he would give a speech. The Taliban's state-run Bakhtar News Agency confirmed the reclusive leader, who is based in the southern city of Kandahar, was attending the meeting of more than 3,000 male participants from around the country, aimed at discussing issues of national unity.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, July 03, 2022