10 lakh have fled Ukraine, lakhs more like to be displaced: UNHCR

at 9:25 pm
People fleeing war-hit Ukraine (Pic: Courtesy UNHCR)

Geneva: The Russian invasion has forced around 10 lakh people to flee Ukraine in just 7 days and millions more are likely to be displaced if the conflict continues, the UN Refugee Agency said today.

Among those forced to leave Ukraine are tens of thousands of Indians, most of them students.

“I have worked in refugee emergencies for almost 40 years, and rarely have I seen an exodus as rapid as this one,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi said in a statement.

“In just seven days, one million people have fled Ukraine, uprooted by this senseless war,” he said.

Grandi said hour by hour, minute by minute, more people are “fleeing the terrifying reality of violence. Countless have been displaced inside the country”.

He added that “unless there is an immediate end to the conflict, millions more are likely to be forced to flee Ukraine.”

Inside Ukraine, the UNHCR staff and other humanitarians are working where and when they can in “frightening conditions”, he said.

“Our staff stay, even at great risk, because we know the needs in the country are huge,” Grandi said.

“Despite the extraordinary pace and challenges, the response from governments and local communities in receiving this one million refugees has been remarkable,” the UNHCR chief said.

UNHCR staff have already moved in throughout the region and are scaling up our protection and assistance programmes for refugees, in support of host governments, he said.

“International solidarity has been heartwarming. But nothing – nothing – can replace the need for the guns to be silenced; for dialogue and diplomacy to succeed. Peace is the only way to halt this tragedy,” he underlined.