More than 10 million Ukrainians, including more than half the population of children in Ukraine, have fled their homes since the onset of the war last month, a UN Humanitarian Affairs representative said while addressing the UN Security Council Tuesday.
Of those, 6.5 million are internally displaced and 3.9 million have crossed the borders to neighboring countries, UN Humanitarian Affairs Deputy Emergency Coordinator Joyce Msuya said.
Msuya said humanitarian aid is scaling up every day and now more than 1,230 United Nations personnel are in the country working with more than 100 humanitarian organizations across Ukraine.
“Ukraine is a humanitarian paradox: Side by side with extreme violence we see extreme kindness, profound solidarity and the gentlest of care,” Msuya said describing the humanitarian situation on the ground.
She said the first UN convoy reached Sumy on March 18 delivering 130 tons of medical supplies, water, ready-to-eat meals and canned food for 35,000 people among other things. On Monday, a second UN convoy reached Kharkiv providing food and other essential relief support items that were distributed by the Ukraine Red Cross society.
“Countrywide, more than 180 metric tons of medical supplies have been delivered, and more than 470 metric tons are on the way,” Msuya said. “Where we can, we buy supplies from the local market, and work alongside local efforts.”
In order to deliver more humanitarian support “we need detailed, realistic agreements on humanitarian ceasefires and pauses to allow aid in, and people out,” Msuya said. She added that “the situation in Ukraine is a breeding ground for human traffickers and predators taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the instability fueled by the war."
“Humanitarian organizations are worried about the risk of trafficking, as well as sexual violence, exploitation and abuse in Ukraine and the region,” Msuya said. “Predators are luring single parents on the road with promises of transport and accommodation.”
The UN representative said that the organization is scaling up protection services for Ukrainians fleeing the country at the border but also inside the country, “providing information available on safe options and routes, access to helplines and safe shelter.”