We are helping and can do more in areas like protection and registration, organizing reception capacity, providing emergency relief and cash assistance, and in identifying and responding to the needs of the most vulnerable, many of them women and children, including a growing number of unaccompanied and separated children.
– Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
What is happening in Ukraine?
An escalation of the conflict in February 2022 has turned an already volatile situation into a full-scale emergency. People are fleeing their homes to try to find safety elsewhere within the country and are crossing borders into neighbouring countries. The situation remains extremely dangerous for anyone inside Ukraine and the vulnerability of those forced to flee is increasing rapidly, with more in need of immediate support.
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Even before recent events, Ukraine has been impacted by years of conflict and uncertainty. At the end of 2021, almost three million people in Ukraine needed humanitarian support, including more than 850,000 people displaced by conflict.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has been working in Ukraine since 1994, alongside local authorities, partners and community organizations to deliver protection and humanitarian assistance to people in need.
What is UNHCR doing to help?
UNHCR staff are on the ground in Ukraine and are committed to stay and deliver assistance when and where access and security allow. Our teams have scaled up their presence and operations in central and western Ukraine, where conditions enable more humanitarian access, and where needs are also growing.
We are delivering aid and support to people forced to flee. Inside Ukraine, UNHCR has been delivering core relief items such as blankets, sleeping mats and emergency shelters, and more supplies are on their way. We also have specialist protection services set up to identify people in need of particular assistance, such as children travelling alone and people with disabilities.
In neighbouring countries, UNHCR has been sending emergency experts and stockpiles of essential supplies such as thermal blankets and sleeping mats, for distribution to refugees as well as convoys into Ukraine for distribution to those internally displaced. UNHCR is present at border areas and reception centres to help identify and provide dedicated care to the most vulnerable refugees and set up helplines and information materials.
UNHCR with partners is setting up the ‘Blue Dots’, safe spaces providing protection services for children, families and others with specific needs, in support of existing services and government efforts. We are also working closely with the authorities to support reception facilities for newly arriving refugees, as well as rolling out emergency cash assistance in some neighbouring countries.
We remain firmly committed to protect and help all affected populations in Ukraine and countries in the region. The response of donors from both the private and public sectors, as well as the welcome that refugees have received from neighbouring countries is outstanding – but even more support is needed to provide the growing number of people forced to flee with the assistance they need to recover from their trauma and start to rebuild their lives.
For information on UNHCR’s operational response, budgets and funding, please visit the Ukraine situation page on Global Focus.