UN: Nearly 3.5 million Ukrainians flee the country

As at March 21st, 2022, Close to 3.5 million Ukrainians have fled the country following Russia’s invasion, the United Nations said on Monday while also commending the neighboring countries for displaying a great amount of sympathy towards their “extreme plight”.

More than 10 million people over a quarter of the population in regions under government control are now thought to have fled their homes, including the millions of internally displaced people.
UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said 3,489,644 Ukrainians had fled the country since Russia invaded on February 24 — a figure up 100,600 on Sunday’s update.

“Over the last four weeks, the world has watched in disbelief. Countless lives have been lost while millions of others have been completely upended,” UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said.

“As if to counter the despair, we have also witnessed overwhelming acts of welcome and compassion as neighboring countries, particularly local responders, have opened their hearts and homes to Ukrainians.

“Millions around the world were rightly moved by the extreme plight of the Ukrainian people,” he said, citing their “pain and sorrow… loss and anguish”, and “relief at finding safety and trepidation of an uncertain future”.

Women and children account some 90 percent of those who have fled. Ukrainian men aged 18 to 60 are eligible for military call-up and cannot leave.

UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, said more than 1.5 million children are among those who have fled abroad.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) said 186,000 people from third countries had fled Ukraine to neighbouring states.

As of Wednesday, some 6.48 million people were estimated to be internally displaced within Ukraine, according to UN and related agencies, following an IOM representative survey.

“Millions more may be affected if the war does not end,” IOM said.

Before Russia invaded, Ukraine had a population of 37 million in the regions under government control, excluding Russia-annexed Crimea and the pro-Russian separatist regions in the east.

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