Ukraine invasion: 100,000 people displaced as families seek shelter underground

The United Nations, UN, on Friday said that at least 100,000 people have likely been displaced by the violence in the Ukraine crisis and terrified families have been forced to seek shelter underground in the capital. “There have been major attacks in Kyiv that have created greater fear and panic among the population, with families really scared, moving alongside their children into subways and shelters.

Ukraine invasion: 100,000 people displaced as families seek shelter underground
The United Nations, UN, on Friday said that at least 100,000 people have likely been displaced by the violence in the Ukraine crisis and terrified families have been forced to seek shelter underground in the capital. “There have been major attacks in Kyiv that have created greater fear and panic among the population, with families really scared, moving alongside their children into subways and shelters. “This is clearly a terrifying moment for children across the country,” said Ms Afshan Khan, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Regional Director, Europe and Central Asia, speaking in Geneva. “When we look at shortages, we’re talking about fuel, which has been well reported in the media, we’re talking about cash, because often in humanitarian situations, cash assistance would be our first support to families, so obviously there’s been a drawdown on banks,” said UNICEF’s Khan. “We are still trying to monitor what the situation is vis-à-vis civilian infrastructure,” Khan said. “As you know, there has been hits of critical infrastructure in the east, particularly in Donbass, for some years and they have been cut off, hence the UNICEF water trucking [operations]. “In the current scenario, we are still trying to see which civilian infrastructure has been hit [and] where.” The development follows renewed condemnation for the Russian move by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who on Thursday appealed for peace and allocated 20 million dollars from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to meet urgent needs. The use of force by one country against another is “the repudiation of the principles that every country has committed to uphold,” which applied to the military offensive in Ukraine. “It is wrong. It is against the Charter. It is unacceptable. But it is not irreversible,” Guterres said. Echoing that message and in an appeal for guaranteed humanitarian access to the most vulnerable individuals, the World Health Organisation (WHO) highlighted concerns that medical teams face being overwhelmed. “We don’t have reports yet from the hospitals, when we look at particular injuries and the details of medical,” Jarno Habicht, WHO Representative in Ukraine. “Where our focus has been now, is on the prepositioned medical kits. We will run out of them soon, so what is important currently…is how to ensure new supplies to come and…[that] there are humanitarian corridors from the neighbouring countries available.” UN agencies have been active in Ukraine for many years, particularly since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 – a move in large part rejected by the international community. Immediate priorities include assessing what already vulnerable communities need in eastern regions of Donetsk, Luhansk and other oblasts. Forced mass displacement has also begun, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) confirmed. “There are more than 100,000 who we estimate have lost their homes and are displaced inside the country. “We are also aware of several thousand who have crossed international borders in the region, and we’ve seen those really just happening since the onset of the situation. “We’re seeing these reports and we saw, for instance, yesterday that there were about 5,000 refugee arrivals in Moldova already, but the other movements are being reported in Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the Russian Federation,” said UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo.