The war in Ukraine has forced 10 million people to flee their homes, a UN agency says

Up to 10 million people have fled the fighting in Ukraine, either within the country or across the border to neighboring countries, the UN refugee agency said.

“The war in Ukraine is so devastating that 10 million have fled, either within the country or as refugees abroad,” Filippo Grandi, head of the UN refugee agency, said on Twitter.

“Among the responsibilities of those fighting wars around the world is the suffering inflicted on civilians who are forced to flee their homes,” he said.

Grandi has previously described the Ukraine conflict as “the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II”.

Almost 3.4 million refugees have had to leave Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24, according to the UNHCR portal in its latest update. Another 6.5 million people were internally displaced.

Two-thirds, or 2 million, of those who went abroad crossed through Poland, which shares a more than 300-mile border with Ukraine. About 90 percent of the refugees are women and children, prompting UNHCR and other organizations to warn of an increased risk of human trafficking and exploitation.

UNHCR estimates that more than 12 million people have been affected in the war-affected areas within Ukraine, adding that humanitarian needs are “growing exponentially”.

“Many people remain trapped in areas of escalating conflict, unable to meet their basic needs, including food, water and medicine, as basic services are disrupted,” UNHCR said last week.

People are fleeing “because they fear bombs, airstrikes and indiscriminate destruction,” Grandi said in his recent tweet, even as “humanitarians in Ukraine are doing everything they can to reach those in need, often in dangerous circumstances.” .

The number of refugees from Ukraine has more than doubled since March 11, when estimates rose to 2.5 million, with another 2 million displaced within the country.

On Monday, Ukraine refused a Russian deadline relinquish control of the besieged port city of Mariupol, scene of some of the conflict’s heaviest fighting.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said it would open humanitarian corridors from Mariupol and urged Ukrainian forces to lay down their arms and leave.

Local officials reported last week that about 350,000 were trapped in Mariupol, UNHCR said. In Odessa, authorities have asked for assistance to meet the needs of about 450,000 people. The war in Ukraine has forced 10 million people to flee their homes, a UN agency says

Adam Bradshaw

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