The Ukrainian war leaves more than 110,000 refugees and families separated

The war in Ukraine has caused the mass departure of people from the country, fleeing from the bombardment of the Russian forces since they began the invasion at dawn this Thursday. More of 150,000 people have left their homes and thousands seek refuge abroad, according to the United Nations.

The conflict has also made thousands of families have been forced to separate. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has banned adult males leaving the country to resist the Russian military invasion.

The busiest border crossing is in the Ukrainian city of Chernivtsiin southwestern Ukraine, with the Romanian province of Suceavaand they are already close to 20,000 people who have entered the territory of Romania. Social workers in the Romanian town of Siret estimate that around 80% of the displaced are women and children.

About 5,000 people have crossed from Ukraine to Moldova and the flight of Ukrainians to Poland, Slovakia and Hungary has also been observed. The United Nations estimates that the number of refugeess could reach five million in the coming weeks.

Waiting rooms converted into bedrooms

The Przemysl railway station it has also become one of the main entry points for Ukrainian refugees into Poland. Social workers carry food and blankets and have even set up a makeshift kitchen at su station waiting room has been converted into a bedroom with up to 80 folding loungers and the station lights stay on all night.

They have come to her about 1,500 people and many of them have been forced to separate from their familieslike Taisia, a woman from Kharkiv, whose husband was unable to accompany her on her trip to Poland because “they forced him to stay and fight”as explained to Efe.

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Ukrainian citizens at the Przemysl train station in Poland Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP

From this Polish city, convoys are organized to deliver Ukrainians to other cities and many people offer them free rides in their own vehicles.

In Poland they have arrived about 100,000 Ukrainians since the start of the Russian attackaccording to government estimates, which has enabled along its border with Ukraine eight refugee reception centers. Through its website, the Administration has provided information for Ukrainians arriving in the country.

Ukrainian citizens arrive at a border checkpoint between Poland and Ukraine Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP

The spokesman for the Polish Government, Stanislaw Zaryn, has reported that this Thursday the arrival of about 29,000 people at the Polish borderof which “half had already planned to arrive since before the war”, as he explained on the radio station Radius Plus.

Europe, ready to receive refugees

The vice president of the European Commission for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Suica, assured this Friday that the European Union “is ready” to face the refugee crisis and stressed that “many neighboring countries” of Ukraine are ready to welcome them.

In addition to Poland, Ukrainians fleeing their country go to other bordering countries such as Moldova, Slovakia and Romania, where more than 20,000 people have entered.

Ukrainian refugees cross the border crossing in Siret, Romania EFE/ROBERT GHEMENT

After the arrival of thousands of Ukrainians, the Romanian Government This Friday the mandatory quarantine for coronavirus has been eliminated to all who enter from Ukraine. Many of the Ukrainians who have entered Romania have come from neighboring Moldova, where more than 15,000 Ukrainians have taken refuge.

Thousands of Ukrainians have also fled to Slovakia, where they arrive both on foot and in vehicles. the slovak government has 10,000 accommodation places at its disposal, where they can temporarily accommodate those who do not have relatives to receive them. Also, many Slovak citizens have offered to host the refugees in their homes.

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Ukrainian refugees at a primary school in Przemysl, eastern Poland WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP

For its part, Hungary has issued a decree to determine that Ukrainian refugees will receive temporary asylum status. So far, the Hungarian authorities estimate that hundreds or a few thousand people have arrived in the country from Ukraine.

Contingency plans

Humanitarian organizations such as UNHCR are preparing to host Ukrainian refugees en masse. The UN Agency has reported that eis making contingency plans for “the departure of a population of one to three million people to Poland and one to five million considering all the neighboring countries”, as explained by the UNICEF regional director for Europe and Central Asia, Afhsan Khan.

UNHCR has reactivated the plan that was launched in response to the refugee crisis in Europe between 2015 and 2016 as a result of the war in Syria.

Ukrainian refugees wait after crossing the border in eastern Slovakia PETER LAZAR / AFP

Khan has advanced that UN agencies will have to provide aid to both refugees leaving Ukraine as well as displaced families within the country. He stressed that the United Nations has the solidarity of neighboring countries, which he has asked to keep their borders open for refugees from Ukraine, “including those who are not likely to receive migrant families and children.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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