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March 30, 2022

Four million refugees from Ukraine: where are they going?

Just over a month since the start of the war, more than 10 million people – almost a quarter of Ukraine’s population – have now fled their homes. In addition to the more than 4 million who have crossed borders seeking safety in neighboring countries, an estimated 6.5 million people are displaced inside the country. Furthermore, at least 13 million are estimated to be stranded in affected areas or unable to leave due to heightened security risks, destruction of bridges and roads, as well as lack of resources or information on where to find safety and accommodation.

Which countries are Ukrainian refugees going to?

Among those fleeing Ukraine are Ukrainians, third-country nationals who were working or studying in the country and approximately 5,000 refugees. An estimated 90 percent are women and children. The majority of refugees are crossing to neighboring countries to the west, such as Poland, Romania, Moldova and Hungary.

Map of countries refugees from Ukraine are fleeing to

As of March 29, more than 4 million people have left Ukraine:

  • Poland has taken in 2,336,799 refugees
  • Romania 608,936
  • Moldova 387,151
  • Hungary 364,804
  • Russia 350,632
  • Slovakia 281,172
  • Belarus 10,902

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said, “The capacity of neighboring countries receiving refugees is already coming under strain. The only way to resolve this crisis is for the war to end. But while the number fleeing continues to rise, both they and the people hosting them need and deserve our support. More will be needed – for states, for refugees, for local communities – and I urge the international community to ensure that it is forthcoming.”

What is happening to people stuck or displaced inside Ukraine?

As well as the 6.5 million people who have left their homes, about 13 million are thought to be stranded or unable to leave areas affected by the fighting.

Natasha, 38, and her son Misha, 10, fled from Kyiv to Lviv in western Ukraine where they have been staying in the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Karolina Lindholm Billing, UNHCR’s Representative to Ukraine, said, “Today, millions in Ukraine live in constant fear. Indiscriminate shelling and heavy bombardments are forcing people to shelter in bunkers for hours day and night. In Vinnytsia last week, I met a mother with a 20-year-old daughter with disabilities staying in one of the reception centers that UNHCR has supported. Their apartment on the outskirts of Kyiv had been hit. It was clear to me that they would not be able to move out of this center anytime soon.”

What is being done for people fleeing inside Ukraine?

UNHCR continues to deliver assistance to communities inside Ukraine when it is safe to do so and is closely tracking negotiations for safe passage. Working with its partners, UNHCR is offering humanitarian assistance including:

  • giving cash to people for basics like food, rent and hygiene items
  • delivering core relief items and emergency shelter, including food and tarps for damaged homes
  • setting up reception and transit points for internally displaced people
  • facilitating access to legal aid, psychosocial support and other assistance to those most vulnerable

What help is being offered to refugees in neighboring countries?

UNHCR has offices in Poland, Romania and Hungary, as well as in Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic under a multi-country office in Budapest. Working with national authorities, UNHCR is:

  • rolling out cash assistance in Poland, Moldova and Romania for basics like food, rent and hygiene items 
  • working in Romania and Moldova to strengthen reception capacity and support the provision of transitional accommodation
  • maintaining a supply pipeline via Poland into Ukraine, and expanding to Hungary and Romania
  • implementing the Blue Dots, children and family protection support hubs, in collaboration with UNICEF and other partners

The EU has granted Ukrainians who flee the war a blanket right to stay and work throughout its 27 member nations for up to three years. They will also receive social welfare and access to housing, medical treatment and schools.

What is the U.S. doing to help refugees from Ukraine?

On March 24, President Biden announced that the United States would accept up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine and donate $1 billion in new funding towards humanitarian assistance for those affected by the war in Ukraine and its severe impacts around the world.

White House officials said that refugees would be received through the full range of legal pathways, including the U.S. refugee admissions program, which leads to permanent residence or a green card. Others may be granted visas or humanitarian parole, a temporary form of entry offered to displaced people in wartime and other emergencies.

In early March, the U.S. government granted temporary protected status to allow Ukrainians already in the United States to live and work here for the next 18 months.

How can you help?

Millions of people in Ukraine have fled for their lives following escalating violence, and more are fleeing every day. The overwhelming majority of the refugees and displaced are women and children, and all are in need of humanitarian assistance. We need to take action. Join USA for UNHCR and add your name in solidarity with refugees fleeing war and violence in Ukraine.