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?
The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance. Millions of refugees from Ukraine have crossed borders into neighbouring countries, and many more have been forced to move inside the country. They are in urgent need of protection and support.
Even before recent events, Ukraine had 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 rolling out emergency cash assistance as well as 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. We are also coordinating a regional Refugee Response Plan for the Ukraine refugee situation, bringing together 142 partners to support Governments’ responses.
UNHCR together with UNICEF, authorities and partners have established the Blue Dot Safe Space, Protection and Support Hubs along the major crossing points and transit routes. Blue Dots provide a safe space, support and referrals for health care, education, psychosocial support and more, bringing together critical protection services and information for refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, with a particular focus on children and those at greatest risk, including unaccompanied and separated children, persons with disabilities, cases of suspected trafficking, survivors of sexual or gender-based violence and refugees from the LGBTIQ+ community.
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 several neighbouring countries to help refugees cover their most urgent and immediate needs until they can find work or receive social support.
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.
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