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UN Seeking $1.7 Billion in Aid for Ukrainians, Refugees as Conflict Escalates

Refugees who fled Ukraine because of the war, arrive in Tiszabecs, Hungary, March 1, 2022.
The United Nations is appealing for $1.7 billion to assist in delivering immediate humanitarian aid to Ukrainians and refugees in neighboring countries.

According to the U.N., around 12 million Ukrainians will need relief and support as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine escalates. An additional four million Ukrainian refugees are expected to need protection in surrounding countries in the next few months. Russia invaded Ukraine last week.

U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths says as casualties rise fast, the response to protect lives needs to happen now.

“Families with small children are hunkered down in basements and subway stations or running for their lives to the terrifying sound of explosions and wailing sirens,” Griffiths said. “Casualty numbers are rising fast. This is the darkest hour for the people of Ukraine. We need to ramp up our response now to protect the lives and dignity of ordinary Ukrainians. We must respond with compassion and solidarity.”

The U.N. is calling for $1.1 billion in aid to assist six million domestic Ukrainians within the next three months. That money will go toward multipurpose cash assistance, food, water and sanitation, health care, education services and shelter assistance to rebuild damaged homes.

With more than half-a-million refugees fleeing Ukraine in recent days, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi says the situation looks to possibly become “Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century.”

“While we have seen tremendous solidarity and hospitality from neighboring countries in receiving refugees, including from local communities and private citizens, much more support will be needed to assist and protect new arrivals,” Grandi said.

The U.N. also is asking for $550.6 million in aid through an inter-agency regional refugee response plan to help Ukrainian refugees in Poland, the Republic of Moldova, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and other countries assisting in shelter, emergency relief items and mental and psychological support.