Viktoriya and her 14-year-old daughters, Viktoriya Savyichkina, spent weeks without electricity or water in their basement in Ukraine.
Their current residence is a large convention center in the capital of Poland. Savyichkina claimed she took a photograph of Mariupol’s home destroyed. The 40-year old bookeeper is contemplating starting over from scratch, as she sleeps in a camp bed in another country.
Savyichkina stated that she doesn’t know where they are going or how it will end. “I would love to go home, ofcourse. Perhaps I’ll enjoy it here in Poland.”
The war in Ukraine is approaching eight weeks. More than 5 million people fled Ukraine since Russian troops invaded the country on February 24, according to the U.N. refugee Agency. The exodus surpassed the worst-case predictions made by the Geneva-based U.N. high commissioner to refugees when it reached 4 million March 30.
A Russian offensive launched in eastern Ukraine, causing more disruption and death. This was an even greater milestone in Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II.
Filippo Grandi, U.N. High Commissioner For Refugees, tweeted Wednesday that the millions of Ukrainians who fled Ukraine due to war “have left behind homes and families.” Many would do almost anything to be reunited with their loved ones. Some even risk returning home. Every new attack destroys their hopes. Only an end of the war will allow them to rebuild their lives.
Ukraine had 44 million inhabitants before the war. UNHCR reports that the conflict has left more than 7million people displaced in Ukraine, along with 5.03 million refugees who fled as of Wednesday. The agency estimates that 13 million more people remain trapped in war-affected regions of Ukraine.
Shabia Mantoo, spokesperson for UNHCR, stated that “We have seen approximately a quarter of Ukraine’s population, more over 12 million people in all,,,,forced to flee their homes, and this is a staggering number of people.”
Over half of all refugees fled to Poland, or at least the first attempt. They can apply for national ID numbers which allow them to work and receive free healthcare.
While many have stayed in the country, some have moved on to other places. Savyichkina stated that she has been thinking of taking her daughters to Germany.
She said, “We hope that we can live there, send our children to school, find employment, and start life again from zero,” inside the huge Global EXPO Center in Warsaw. It provides basic accommodation for around 800 refugees.
If everything goes smoothly, and if the children love it first, then we will remain. …,” Savyichkina stated.
Hungary, further south, has become a key transit point for Ukrainian refugees. 16.400 of the more than 465,000 refugees arrived in Hungary have applied for protected status. This means they wish to remain. Many of these people are part of the Ukrainian ethnic Hungarian minority.
According to Hungary’s government, it has donated $8.7 Million to various charitable organizations. It also provides subsidies to companies that hire Ukrainians granted asylum.
Migration Aid, an international non-governmental organization, rented a whole five-story Budapest building, which was a former workers’ hostel, in March to provide temporary accommodation to people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. It has assisted approximately 4,000 refugees to date.
Tatiana Shulieva (67), a retired epidemiologist, fled Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine, and said that the night she spent at the hostel was “like something out of a fairytale”. She had previously lived in a basement for several weeks to escape constant shelling.
Nearby Romania has hosted more than 750,000 Ukrainian refugees. Oxana Cotus fled Mykolaiv, a southern Ukrainian city, with her four children. She initially wanted to go to Denmark, but she ended up in Bucharest as she spoke Romanian and wasn’t interested in being far from Ukraine.
She was grateful for the assistance she received from International Red Cross to help her relocate and settle.
European countries hosting refugees claim they need international assistance to handle the situation, particularly now that Russia has intensified its attacks on Ukraine’s eastern Donbas.
“If we have a second round of refugees, then we will be facing a problem because we are already at capacity.” Rafal Trzaskowski, Warsaw Mayor, stated to The Associated Press that we cannot accept more.
Trzaskowski stated that around 300,000 refugees from war are currently in the city, which has a population of 1.8 million. Most of them live in private homes. He said that Warsaw residents would be able to accommodate refugees for a few more months, but not permanently.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki visited Lviv, Ukraine on Tuesday to visit a refugee centre made of mobile modules. This center was jointly constructed by the governments of Poland and Ukraine to accommodate displaced persons who are not willing to leave Ukraine.
Organisations for refugees believe that the best way to help is for the war not to continue.
Mantoo, UNHCR, stated that “Unfortunately, there is no immediate end to the fighting. The unspeakable sufferings and mass displacement we are witnessing will only get worse.”
According to data from Poland, some 738,000 people crossed into Ukraine during wartime. They travel back and forth to shop in Poland while others go to Ukraine to check on their relatives or property. Depending on what they find, some choose to stay and others to leave.
UNHCR reports that more than half of all refugees from Ukraine are children. UNHCR reports that thousands of civilians including children have been wounded or killed in air and shelling attacks.
Mantoo described the “outpourings of support and generosity” that have been shown to the arriving Ukrainian refugees as “remarkable.”
She said, “But it is important that it be sustained and channelled across to ensure refugees are able to receive that support while fighting continues while they are unable return home.”