Speaking from Hungary, where nearly half a million Ukrainians have sought safety, she said: neighboring countries include refugees in national education, health and social programmes†
“While the magnitude and speed of displacement is enormous, we must not lose sight of what these numbers mean.”
— UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency (@Refugees) Apr 19, 2022
“This inclusive approach is – by no means – the best way for refugees to maintain their lives in exile, and it requires more international support.”
The UN also estimates that 13 million more people are in the worst affected areas, many unable to move and difficult to reach safely with assistance.
Beyond blankets and cash
†No pile of blankets, no sum of money, no amount of medicine, will stop death and destruction‘ stressed the deputy high commissioner. “While we will continue our duty to provide aid, we also need this Council to do its job.”
Ms Clements noted that she had just returned from the Czech Republic and Austria, where she described the compassion and solidarity as unprecedented. Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, Raouf Mazou – currently visiting Moldova and Romania.
While the magnitude and speed of displacement is immense, she urged the Council not to lose sight of the significance of these numbers.
Ms. Clements shared the story of a 25-year-old woman from Odessa – whom she met in Prague – who was forced to leave her family behind in Ukraine.
“Each of the millions of displaced people is being forced to make impossible, heartbreaking decisions,” she said.
The senior UN official also told “consistently remarkable” acts of humanity seen in statements of support plastered on apartments, windows and street lamps, as well as individuals gathering to offer what they can.
Moreover, States involved have kept their borders open and protected those seeking safety and assistance†
“We call for a non-discriminatory approach to all those in need,” she said.
These inspiring responses are only surpassed by the strength and composure of the refuges themselves, which continue to exude courage and resilience, Ms Clements noted.
In particular, she said they emphasize their hope for peace so that they can return home.
†We will continue to expand our life-saving assistance to IDPs across Ukraine”, confirmed Ms Clements, especially in the center and east – where a relentless humanitarian nightmare is unfolding.
This requires not only resources, but also safe and unimpeded access to those in need, she said.
Increased risk of human trafficking
Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Antonio Vitorino warned that the more targeting of cities will lead to more civilian casualties and displacement, both internally and externally†
I have just informed the UN Security Council about the needs of internally displaced persons, those forced to flee their homes to neighboring countries, and all populations affected by the war in #Ukraine†
— Antonio Vitorino (@IOMchief) Apr 19, 2022
He called on the parties to the conflict to respect their international law obligations to protect non-combatants, their homes and civilian infrastructure.
Mr Vitorino pointed to several specific risks faced by internally displaced persons, refugees and third country nationals and warned that in situations of mass displacement, up to 30 percent of the population will experience some form of negative psychological impact†
He expressed his particular concern for the women and children who have fled or been displaced.
Trafficking in human beings has been a well-known phenomenon in the region and past crises have shown that large-scale displacement, family separation and disruption to civil defense and community networks leave these individuals vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse.
The IOM chief urged all neighboring and affected countries to ensure the immediate identification and registration of unaccompanied and separated children fleeing Ukraine.
Understanding the needs of refugees
In the future, Mr Vitorino called for a better understanding of the intentions of those fleeing; people forced to leave their homes; and individuals separated from their families due to the conflict.
IOM, through its teams on the ground, will continue to collect and disseminate information essential to this effort, aimed at actions to improve the well-being of all victims of the war.
†As more people are likely to be displaced, it is critical to plan ahead and ensure that all those fleeing war have access to adequate support and services,” emphasized the director-general.