Ukrainian Displacement: 3 Million Refugees in 3 Weeks
By Benjamin Farrell
According to the United Nations, approximately 3 million have crossed Ukrainian borders and fled in just under a month's time.
Across the country, millions are becoming displaced by the week and the humanitarian emergency is set to become worse if the steady flow of conflict persists. As of March 12th, ONCHR has confirmed at least 1,663 civilian causalities, although the number is most likely to be higher than that.
Where are refugees going and how long can they stay?
The most popular countries receiving an influx of Ukrainian refugees are those along the borders. The UN provided these statistics as of March 14th:
Poland had taken in 1,808,436 refugees (on 15 March)
As for how long they can stay in those countries, the EU has prepared legislation to that effect. Per Reuters, the EU has granted those that flee the war in Ukraine the right to stay across 27 nations and up to 3 years.
A major concern is that while the EU is tasked with handled cross-border movement and migration, humanitarian and international organizations are mainly concerned with providing necessary care and supplies to those internal displaced. What makes the Ukrainian humanitarian crisis unique when compared to other global situations, is that Ukrainian IDP's are being produced steadily across all regions of the country, not just in one or two centralized areas.
This can provide to be specifically taxing on logistical plans. With OCHA projecting 6.7 million internal displaced persons being present in Ukraine of the next three months, the logistical plans for humanitarian organizations will become even more difficult. As we see very high numbers of civilians leaving major cities across the country, shelter and community accommodation is going to require high-level coordination between government and NGOs.
To that regard, UNHCR released the statement: "UNHCR has facilitated the establishment of coordination structures in line with the Refugee Coordination Model. A Regional Refugee Response Plan has been developed and is currently under adjustment and more partners will contribute." The main goal of this response plan is to provide support to the governments of host countries to ensure safe access to territory for refugees fleeing from Ukraine.
Make-shift shelters and community centers have begun popping up across major cities in the Ukraine that have had an influx of fleeing civilians. An example of this has been documented in Lviv, where long-time residents of the city have begun welcoming newcomers and have avoided mass bombing as of yet.
NPR reports that small businesses have been converted to shelters to accompany this influx. The shelters are being created in nearly 500 move theaters, schools, gyms, yoga studios, and even in private homes.
Of course, in the coming weeks, more and more civilians will be setting foot in the streets of Lviv, and the mayor has asked for international help to address the problem over the next couple of weeks.
Over the course of the next month, continued bilateral cooperation between governments and organizations will be cubical to address the humanitarian crisis that will prove to be dynamic and constantly changing. The challenges that face IDP's are in their infancy, however, with a strong international front and continued support from the EU and the United States, the safety of Ukrainian civilians can continued to be prioritized.