More than 100,000 people have moved inside Ukraine, “fleeing violence for safety”, the UN refugee agency said in a statement on Thursday.
“There has been significant internal displacement – it appears that more than 100,000 people have moved within the borders fleeing the violence for their safety. And there have been movements to and across international borders. But the situation is still chaotic and changing rapidly,” said agency spokesman Matthew Saltmarsh.
Refugee resettlement organizations are mobilizing resources to help displaced Ukrainians, advocates told CNN. The scale and scope of refugee resettlement will likely be worked out in the days and weeks to come. But refugee advocates are already warning against displacement — and responding to refugee needs — as Russia invades Ukraine.
“Usually these conflicts and refugee outflows happen over time. You see a few people, then a few more people,” said Melanie Nezer, senior vice president of global public affairs at HIAS, a refugee resettlement organization. Nezer warned that it is still unclear how long the conflict will last and whether people will be able to return home.
“We are working to mobilize resources quickly and connect with partners to establish a response that will provide lifesaving support to civilians forced to flee their homes,” said Lani Fortier, senior director of emergencies at the International Rescue Committee, in a statement. a statement.
HIAS partner in the region, Right to Protection, has been assisting displaced people in Ukraine for years. Since the invasion, staff have sought safety, Nezer said.
“Yesterday we were working, we were literally on the ground in the east serving our customers, and today everyone is on the move,” she added.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield warned at the UN General Assembly meeting on Wednesday that up to five million people could be displaced “by the war chosen by the Russia”.
A bit of context: The United States has resettled thousands of Ukrainians in recent years. The process, however, can be long and tedious, meaning an influx of refugees into the United States is not imminently expected.
“Because resettlement is not the first response in a conflict situation, we do not anticipate large numbers of Ukrainian refugees through the U.S. resettlement program specifically,” said Jenny Yang, senior vice president of advocacy. and policies at World Relief, another resettlement agency.