01 March 2022

Australia for UNHCR is urgently appealing for more donations as refugees from Ukraine continue to pour into neighbouring countries.

The UN Refugee Agency now estimates 520,000 refugees have fled Ukraine while hundreds of thousands more are internally displaced within the country.

“I have worked in refugee crises for almost 40 years and I have rarely seen such an incredibly fast-rising exodus of people – the largest, surely, within Europe, since the Balkan wars,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.

More than 280,000 Ukrainians have fled to Poland, another 94,000 to Hungary, nearly 40,000 are currently in Moldova, 34,000 in Romania and 30,000 in Slovakia. Tens of thousands of people have fled to other European countries.

The UN Refugee Agency is expecting and planning for up to 4 million refugees leaving Ukraine.

Australia for UNHCR National Director, Naomi Steer, says the situation is very fluid and changing by the hour.

“The number of people who are being displaced internally and those who are seeking refuge in neighbouring countries keeps rising,” she said. “These are people who need our help right now and will need ongoing support in the coming weeks and months.”

“UNHCR is delivering humanitarian assistance wherever necessary inside Ukraine, despite major security challenges.”

“The focus is on protection, shelter, basic needs, and the provision of core relief items, as well as cash assistance – both within Ukraine and in neighbouring countries.”

UNHCR is supporting the setup of reception facilities and reinforcing existing supplies in some countries, and standing ready to offer assistance in other countries.

“Ordinary Poles, Hungarians, Moldovans, Romanians, Slovaks and citizens of other European countries have undertaken extraordinary acts of humanity and kindness,” said Mr Grandi.

“This is the humanitarian instinct that is so needed in times of crisis. I encourage governments to continue to maintain access to territory for all those fleeing: Ukrainians, of course, but also third-country nationals living in Ukraine.”

Naomi Steer says UNHCR has been overwhelmed by the generosity of corporate and individual donors around the world since military action began last week.

“Globally, we have seen a huge outpouring of support for Ukrainians in their time of need, and we thank our Australian donors for their support,” she said. “However, more is needed urgently to help UNHCR in its efforts to protect and save lives.”

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Lisa Upton 
[email protected]
+61 420 754 441

Helen Dehen
[email protected]
+61 498 230 830

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