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The United Nations is requesting $4.2 billion in aid for Ukraine and those seeking refuge in Ukraine.
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The United Nations is requesting $4.2 billion in aid for Ukraine and those seeking refuge in Ukraine.

The United Nations is asking for $4.2 billion to assist communities impacted by war in Ukraine, including Ukrainian refugees and neighboring host communities. This comes as Russia intensifies its bombing efforts in freezing temperatures, aiming to put maximum pressure on the Ukrainian government and its citizens.

In the upcoming month, Martin Griffiths, who serves as the undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, stated that we will reach the third year of intense conflict and takeover. He acknowledged that although the war initially began a decade ago in eastern Ukraine, the intensification in 2022 brought about a higher level of casualties, devastation, and hopelessness, along with an increase in the number of refugees.

According to U.N. agencies, over 10,000 non-combatants, including over 560 minors, have lost their lives and more than 18,500 have suffered injuries since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, 2022.

More than 4 million Ukrainians are displaced within their own country, and another 6.3 million have fled as refugees, with the majority seeking refuge in nearby European nations.

According to Griffiths, a total of 14.6 million individuals, which amounts to 40% of the Ukrainian population, will require assistance this year. This number does not include the numerous refugees currently residing in 11 neighboring countries.

FILE - A grandfather says goodbye to his granddaughter Arina, 6, before her evacuation from front-line city of Bakhmut, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine, Jan. 31, 2023.

A grandfather bids farewell to his 6-year-old granddaughter, Arina, as she is evacuated from the front-line city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on January 31, 2023, during Russia’s attack on the country.

He stated that 3.3 million individuals residing in front-line communities in the east and south, where the war continues with constant bombardment, are in dire need.

“I am stunned by how high the number is, especially in today’s world,” stated Griffiths. “The war has affected every part of Ukraine…and on top of that, the harsh winter is increasing the need for life-saving aid such as heating, adequate shelter, warmer clothing, and enough calories to survive the winter.”

He observed that the residents of small towns and villages in Donetsk and Kharkiv, located in the front-lines, have used up their limited resources and are now dependent on assistance for their survival.

In the frigid weather, families reside in homes that have been destroyed and lack essential utilities such as water, gas, and electricity. Elderly individuals are forced to seek shelter in basements due to frequent bombings.

He stated that for the past three years, children have been living in fear and distress, confined indoors with no access to education.

The United Nations’ goal is to assist 8.5 million individuals who are at the greatest risk within Ukraine, as well as 2.3 million refugees and the communities that are providing them with shelter in the surrounding area.

According to Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the total number of people who have been forced to leave their homes today is approximately 10 million. This includes an estimated 4 million individuals who are internally displaced within Ukraine and over 6 million refugees worldwide.

“There are currently over 10 million people who have been displaced from their homes, making it the largest displacement crisis globally.”

According to Grandi, the majority of refugees left Ukraine during the initial months of the war. However, the rate of people leaving significantly decreased once they realized it was safe to stay in Ukraine.

He stated that the state of refugees is highly unstable, as individuals frequently depart and later return to Ukraine. This is uncommon in typical refugee scenarios.

According to the International Organization for Migration, approximately 900,000 refugees have gone back to Ukraine.

According to Grandi, it is crucial to recognize that the pendular motion is feasible in Ukraine but not in other refugee scenarios due to the fact that the individuals are not escaping their own government, but rather from occupation, invasion, and Russian bombing.

According to him, they are still classified as refugees due to their escape from war, but they are not seeking refuge from their own government.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) states that most refugees intend to stay in their current host nations and will need ongoing assistance to fulfill their fundamental necessities, such as providing education for children, healthcare for physical and mental well-being, training for skills and language, and protection.

According to a survey conducted by UNHCR, 62% of refugees are female and 36% are children. The survey also noted that this demographic, along with the prevalence of single-parent families, increases the vulnerability to gender-based violence.

During the joint unveiling of the United Nations’ plan to address the humanitarian and refugee crisis in Ukraine, Denise Brown, the country’s humanitarian coordinator, informed donors that the U.N. is dedicated to addressing all bombing incidents, regardless of size, that take place in the region.

Shortly after the event, she stated, “We provide psychological and social assistance. We also deliver urgent resources to individuals whose homes have been demolished by the tremendous blasts.”

After several weeks following a bombing, she stated that the United Nations initiates efforts to reconstruct the destroyed houses, clear away debris, and provide assistance to reopen small businesses in the affected areas.

She stated that the war is ongoing and the suffering is ongoing as well. She urged for continued support, stating that if funding does not come through, the humanitarian system will need to be taken apart.

Iryna Vereshchuk, the deputy prime minister of Ukraine, emphasized the perseverance and determination of her people as she appealed for ongoing support from donors. She expressed the strong resolve to continue fighting until victory in the war is achieved.

The opposing side relies on our fatigue as they understand they cannot achieve victory through military means. They are banking on the idea that our civilian population will eventually become worn out, but we must not let this happen.

“We must continue to aid civilians, including those who are internally displaced within Ukraine and those who have fled the country due to the ongoing war. We must stand firm and resist evil and oppression,” she stated.