the war in Ukraine It has already led more than a million civilians to flee their country, the United Nations Office for Refugees (UNHCR) reported Thursday.
Ukrainians, and many foreigners who were in the country, are crossing into neighboring nations like Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Moldova.
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Smaller groups have gone to Russia and Belarus.
“In just seven days, a million people have fled Ukraine, uprooted by this senseless war. I have been working in refugee emergencies for almost 40 years and I have rarely seen an exodus as fast as this,” said the high commissioner for UNHCR, Filippo Grandi.
“Hour by hour, minute by minute, more people have to flee the terrifying reality of violence. Countless people are displaced within the country,” he added.
Poland has been the country that has received the majority of those who flee, with more than 500,000 people until this Thursdayone week after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Faced with this crisis, the European Union (EU) reported that some four million people could try to leave Ukraine and that it will receive the refugees with “open arms”. The country has 44 million inhabitants.
How are they getting out?
Many people have waited up to 60 hours, in freezing weather, to cross the border into Poland. Those entering Romania have waited up to 20 hours.
They have done so in land vehicles and others have even had to walk, as it has become impossible to board the trains leaving Ukrainian cities.
Commercial flights were canceled a few hours after the start of the Russian invasion.
Refugees are told they don’t need documents, but many are receiving refugee status with their passports or birth certificates.
But they must prove in some way that they are Ukrainian citizens or persons legally living in Ukraineas foreign students.
That is why some minority communities, including workers from Africa, have faced problems. Some have claimed that suffer segregation.
What help are they receiving?
In Poland and other countries bordering Ukraine, refugees can stay in reception centers if they don’t have friends or relatives to stay with.
There they are given food and medical care.
Poland is also preparing a medical train to transport injured Ukrainians.
Hungary and Romania are offering cash subsidies for food and clothing. Children are given places in local schools.
The Czech Republic will allow refugees to apply for a special type of visa to stay for some time.
Greece and Germany have sent tents, blankets and masks to Slovakia, while France has sent medicine and other medical equipment to Poland.
Britain could host 200,000 Ukrainian refugees, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.
How many Ukrainians are internally displaced?
UN estimates say that at least 160,000 people in Ukraine who have fled the war are displaced within their own country.
The EU believes that figure could reach seven million and that 18 million Ukrainians will be affected by the war.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says it is trying to help internally displaced people, but the war makes the ground unsafe for aid workers.
The UN is preparing to provide assistance in western Ukraine, where access is easier.
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