“If the war continues, we will start seeing people that have no resources and no connections,” UNHCR head Filippo Grandi told a news conference.
On Monday, the UN said that over 1.7 million people had fled Ukraine, with over a million of those crossing the border with Poland.
In the second week of conflict, many of those people are still in Poland, not having anywhere else to go. Poland and its people have been praised for the solidarity shown to their Ukrainian neighbours, offering tens of thousands of people lodging, food and transport. Countless companies, including train operators, airlines and hotels, have offered their services for free to people fleeing the war.
However, many of the people who have already left the country managed to do so before seeing first hand the atrocities of this invasion, which Western leaders have called “excessive” and “unsolicited”.
Authorities in European countries and beyond are expecting more and more people to start coming out of the regions – particularly in the east of the country – which have seen the hardest fighting. These women and children will likely be heavily traumatised by the effects of the war. Due to decisions imposed by the Ukrainian government, able men aged 18-60 cannot leave the country.
“That will be a more complex situation to manage for European countries going forward,” the UNHCR’s Grandi said, “and there will need to be even more solidarity by everybody in Europe and beyond.”
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