UN sees slowdown in Ukraine refugees

The U.N. migration agency estimates that nearly 6.5 million people have now been displaced inside Ukraine, on top of the 3.2 million refugees who have already fled the country. The estimates from the International Organization for Migration suggests Ukraine is fast on a course in just three weeks toward the levels of displacement from Syria’s devastating war – which has driven about 13 million people from their homes both in the country and abroad.

The findings come in a paper issued Friday by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. It cited the IOM figures as “a good representation of the scale of internal displacement in Ukraine — calculated to stand at 6.48 million internally displaced persons in Ukraine as of March.

he Russian invasion of Ukraine has sent more than 3 million people fleeing, by the United Nations’ estimate. The following AP digital embed shows the estimated number of Ukrainian refugees and the countries which they’ve fled to since Russia began its invasion of the country on February 24, 2022. This table will update daily. Source: UNHCR.

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Meanwhile, the U.N. refugee agency says it’s noticing a slowdown in the number of people fleeing Ukraine, though its estimate of internally displaced people from the fighting has soared in the wake of evacuations from embattled cities like Mariupol and Sumy.

Speaking by video conference from Poland, UNHCR spokesman Matthew Saltmarsh said the number of refugee arrivals, “particularly here in Poland, has been falling in recent days.” Some of those fleeing the violence may have been “recuperating” in the western city of Lviv and “waiting to see whether they should cross the border or not.”

Saltmarsh said UNHCR’s latest estimate of people internally displaced in Ukraine was now above 2 million. He said it was not possible to estimate how many of those might travel abroad. UNHCR has previously projected that 4 million people, or more, could flee Ukraine.

In Poland, which has taken about two-thirds of the some 3.2 million refugees from Ukraine, those arriving in recent days appear “more traumatized” and “in shock,” Saltmarsh said, and often come without a plan for where to go.

More than 93,000 people fled Ukraine on Thursday, according to UNCHR, the lowest single-day figure since fighting began on Feb. 24. That was down from peaks of more than 200,000 daily on two consecutive days in early March.