UNHCR and partners call for urgent support for refugees from Ukraine and their hosts

UNHCR

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo to whom quoted text may be attributed at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Poland. Refugees from Ukraine wait to register for cash assistance in WarsawKateryna Koval and daughter Victoria at a UNHCR cash assistance centre for refugees from Ukraine in Warsaw, Poland. © UNHCR/Maciej Moskwa

In response to the growing Ukrainian refugee crisis, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and humanitarian partners are appealing for increased financial support to help refugees and the neighbouring countries generously hosting them.

Launching an updated Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP) for the Ukraine situation yesterday, UNHCR and partners are seeking US$1.85 billion to support a projected 8.3 million refugees in neighbouring countries, namely Hungary, the Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, as well as other countries in the region, including Belarus, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.

It is launched against the backdrop of continued fighting, destruction and displacement inside Ukraine. So far, the war has uprooted more than 12.7 million people in the past two months alone – of whom more than 5 million have fled as refugees across the borders and 7.7 million remain displaced inside the country. Almost 13 million more people are also estimated to be stranded in affected areas or unable to leave due to security risks.

The human impact and the suffering already caused by this war are staggering. Families have been torn apart, houses and infrastructure have been destroyed, while the trauma of war will have a lasting impact on many of those forced to flee their homes, including women and children who represent some 90 per cent of those forced to flee.

Since the onset of the war, countries in the region have continued to keep their borders open and to welcome refugees. The mobilization of national authorities, host communities, grassroots organizations and tens of thousands of volunteers across neighbouring countries and beyond has been remarkable and shows what can be achieved with a “whole-of-society” approach, and in the spirit of the Global Compact on Refugees.

Under the leadership of various host country governments, the RRP brings together 142 organizations including UN agencies, the IFRC and national Red Cross societies, national and international NGOs, faith-based institutions, civil society and academia.

It focuses on key sectors including protection, food security, health and nutrition, education, basic needs, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihoods and resilience, energy and environment and logistics. Transitional cash assistance, which has already benefited tens of thousands of refugees in neighbouring countries, is a key priority in providing dignified assistance to refugees.

This plan aims to ensure that all refugees fleeing Ukraine have access to safety and international protection. It aims to ensure timely and life-saving humanitarian assistance to refugees fleeing Ukraine and third-country nationals, of whom a sizeable number would need international protection. The plan also focuses on solutions through the promotion of social and economic opportunities.

Neighbouring host countries have existing mechanisms and capacities to respond. However, the scale of refugee arrivals and the breadth of their needs requires further support for national social protection systems and services.

National authorities and regional institutions have moved quickly to ensure temporary protection throughout Europe and beyond in the spirit of solidarity and responsibility sharing. Robust and flexible funding will be crucial to sustaining this solidarity and reaffirming support for the continued protection and inclusion of refugees.

Until we see an end to this war, humanitarian needs will continue to grow and displacement will not cease.

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