Ukrainian Refugees Photo: Getty Images

Over 670,000 Ukrainian refugees have fled after Russian invasion, says UN

*Social displacement in Ukraine is growing, but the military situation makes it difficult to estimate numbers and provide aid to most refugees who can stay in reception centres if they do not have friends or relatives to stay with, and they are given food and medical care

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Over 670,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in neighbouring countries since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations (UN) refugee agency said Twitter Monday, February 28, 2022, warning that the number is expected to steadily rise.

ConsumerConnect reports these countries include Hungary, that had taken 89,561; Moldova 65,391; Slovakia 54,304; Romania 38,461; and Belarus 329 people as well as about 52, 000 others who had fled to other countries in Europe as of Tuesday, March 1.

Poland has so far taken in over 377,000 refugees, according to the UN, while the Polish Government says a further 50,000 are arriving every day.

Presidents Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Ukraine) and Vladimir Putin (Russia)

The UN agency had stated: “The governments and people of those (neighbouring) countries are welcoming refugees.

“It is now urgent to share this responsibility in concrete ways,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi tweeted Saturday.

“As it is almost impossible for us to move around safely in many parts, we cannot confirm numbers.

“We do know that many people are on the move,” Head of Global Communications for the UN refugee agency Joung-ah Ghedini-Williams said.

Many Ukrainian refugees have crossed into Poland, and others have gone to Hungary, Moldova and Romania.

“Displacement in Ukraine is also growing but the military situation makes it difficult to estimate numbers and provide aid,” Grandi said.

U.S. Agency for International Development administrator Samantha Power tweeted that she arrived in Poland on Saturday, where she is set to meet with “disaster experts who are leading the U.S.’s humanitarian response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

The big picture: United Nations aid agencies warned last week that fuel, cash and medical supplies were dwindling in Ukraine, which could lead up to five million people to flee the country, reports Reuters

4 million people may try to leave Ukraine: EU

Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) has estimated that up to four million people may try to leave the country because of the Russian invasion.

Some Nigerian students in Ukraine

The bloc has relaxed its rules on refugees and says its member states will welcome the refugees with “open arms”, agency report also stated.

Poland is also preparing a medical train to transport wounded Ukrainians, and has drawn up a list of 1,230 hospitals to send them to.

Over one million Ukrainians have settled in Poland in recent years, especially since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea.

Refugees are being told they do not need documents to get into neighbouring countries, but should preferably have their internal or foreign travel passports, birth certificates of children travelling with them and medical documentation.

To get refugee status, they need to be Ukrainian citizens or people legally living in Ukraine, such as foreign students.

However, many people have been waiting for up to 60 hours to cross at border points into Poland, in freezing weather, in queues up to 15km (10 miles) long. Those entering Romania have been waiting for up to 20 hours.

Many have not been able to board trains taking them out of Ukrainian cities, according to report.

What help are countries providing?

In Poland and the other countries bordering Ukraine, refugees can stay in reception centres if they do not have friends or relatives to stay with. They are given food and medical care.

Hungary and Romania are giving out cash allowances for food and clothing. Children are being given places in local schools.

It was learnt that countries used to have time limits on how long refugees could spend in reception centres, but most are saying they are likely to waive them and that Ukrainians can stay as long as they need to in view of the grievous security situation in Ukraine after the Russian invasion.

The Czech Republic has activated its Migration Wave Preparedness Plan. This will help refugees apply for a special type of visa through a simplified procedure in order to remain, if needed.

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