Ukraine: Emerging Humanitarian Nightmare

Akanimo Sampson

Akanimo Sampson

As of March 10, over 300,000 people have fled Ukraine into Moldova with 83,000 staying in the country. Many more may come should the situation in the southwest of Ukraine deteriorate.

Interestingly, the Moldovan and Romanian governments, supported by the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have set in place the transfer of people who fled Ukraine, including third country nationals, from Palanca Border Crossing Point in southern Moldova to Romania, a journey of some 230 kilometres.

The first convoy departed Palanca on Thursday morning, transporting 800 refugees to Huși in Romani.

IOM’s Chief of Mission in Moldova, Lars Johan Lonnback, says “we are grateful to Governments of Moldova and Romania, and all countries neighbouring Ukraine for their rapid response and generosity.

“The number one priority is to ensure that all those fleeing the war have protection, shelter, basic needs and support services, including psychosocial assistance. Safe onward transport will ensure crowds do not build up at border crossings and will also help protect women and girls from the dangers of human trafficking and gender-based violence.”

UNHCR and IOM in Romania has provided 16 buses to transfer refugees from Ukraine and third country nationals between the Border Crossing Points of Palanca in Moldova and Albița in Romania, where the Moldovan and Romanian Border Police will carry out crossing formalities. The operation will gather pace and continue until the border at Palanca is decongested.

In Huși, the Romanian Department for Emergency Situations has organized a transit facility. From there the refugees will be transferred to other points in Romania, according to their respective needs.

IOM and UNHCR are in discussion with the authorities of the Republic of Moldova about the opening of new crossing points and are sourcing mobile document readers to ensure people are officially registered.

“This is a commendable initiative and an excellent demonstration of solidarity with the people and Government of the Republic of Moldova and also reflects the excellent collaboration with the Romanian authorities to address pressing challenges”, said Roland Schilling, UNHCR Representative for Central Europe.

“The initiative of the two countries is very much in line with the global commitment for responsibility sharing which UNHCR has always been advocating for”.

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