New York: Fourteen million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes since the start of Ukraine’s invasion on February 24 this year, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has said.
In a briefing to the Security Council on Wednesday, the UN refugee chief said, ‘The Russian invasion of Ukraine has driven the fastest and largest displacement witnessed in decades. Some 14 million people have been forced from their homes since the 24th of February’. Filippo Grandi warned the Ukrainians are about to face one of the world’s harshest winters in extremely difficult circumstances. ‘Humanitarian organizations have dramatically scaled up their response, but much more must be done, starting with an end to this senseless war’, he said.
As the war continues to prolong in Ukraine, the UN refugee chief said the destruction caused by strikes at civilian infrastructure is quickly making the humanitarian response look like a drop in the ocean of needs. He said UNHCR’s focus is increasingly on helping displaced people in Ukraine, working under the government’s able leadership. Of the neighbouring countries, Moldova continues to need special attention, given its vulnerability.
‘Meanwhile in the European Union, we have seen an open, well managed and above all shared refugee response that has proven wrong many of the statements frequently repeated by some politicians: that Europe is full; that relocation is impossible; that there is no public support for refugees’, he added.
Over UNHCR’s response to the crisis in Ukraine, Grandi said that they are maintaining a high level of preparedness for further population movements, both inside and outside Ukraine, taking into account different possible scenarios and the scope and limitations of humanitarian assistance. It has responded to 37 emergencies around the world in the past 12 months alone, in countries such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Myanmar and Syria.