Cots line the floor of a shelter for Ukrainian refugees in Moldova

2 million refugees flee armed conflict

As Humanity & Inclusion continues its assessment of humanitarian needs in Ukraine, refugees in neighboring countries are living in harsh conditions with little access to information.

Amid the ongoing war, Humanity & Inclusion is conducting needs assessment throughout Ukraine, Romania and Moldova to collect information and launch its emergency response operations as soon as possible. The teams consist of technical experts in rehabilitation, mental health and psychosocial support, logistics, security, basic needs and emergency management to identify the most pressing concerns and prepare an appropriate response.

Within Ukraine, Humanity & Inclusion is also coordinating with authorities to collect information about the needs and care of individuals injured in violent attacks. The organization plans to support hospitals, train health specialists and accommodate people with specific needs such as disabilities or medical conditions. 

As of March 8, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 1,424 civilian casualties Ukraine. So far, 516 people, including 37 children, have been killed. Another 908, including 50 children, have been injured.

Alarming needs in Moldova

In Moldova, Humanity & Inclusion is visiting some of the country’s 78 evacuation centers, where tens of thousands have fled to escape the bombing and shelling of the conflict.

“Hundreds of families—mostly women and children—sleep side by side with very few of their belongings,” says Fanny Mraz, Humanity & Inclusion’s emergency manager. “The centers vary widely in the number of people they can accommodate and in the conditions they can provide, often with insufficient supplies such as food, water and soap.”

More and more people are leaving Ukraine, often spending days traveling through insecure regions and dangerously low temperatures. Once people reach the border, the next steps remain unclear.

“We see older people arriving in alarming conditions,” Mraz explains. “Some are collapsing to the ground at the border, with no more strength after days of traveling in the cold. The waiting areas are not adapted for people with specific needs, and they struggle to continue onward to the resources they require.”

Another major issue for refugees is a lack of information.

“Over 14,000 people are pouring into Moldova each day,” Mraz continues. “But it is not always clear where they can go after they arrive, or how to get there. This is an even greater issue for people with disabilities or in need of adapted information and specialized services.”

Fear lingers as conflict evolves

Over 2 million refugees have now fled Ukraine, seeking safety in surrounding countries. At least 1 million people have been internally displaced, though the actual number is expected to be much higher, with nearly 7 million at risk of displacement. The situation remains volatile and continues to evolve each day with great uncertainty.

Some ceasefires were announced across the country, but the general population remains in fear that these agreements may not last. In fact, major news outlets are already reporting that a hospital for mothers and children was bombed in Mariupol.

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