UN: 1 in 6 people internally displaced in Ukraine after Russia launched war

UN migration agency says over 600,000 internally displaced in first 17 days of April, more than 5M fled Ukraine.

UN: 1 in 6 people internally displaced in Ukraine after Russia launched war

More than 600,000 additional people were internally displaced in Ukraine in the first 17 days of April, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Thursday. 

According to the UN migration agency, the total number of internally displaced people since the Feb. 24 start of the Russia-Ukraine war climbed to over 7.7 million, 17% of the country's population.

These displacements represent a 9% rise since the IOM's second report on April 1 and 19% since the first survey published on March 16.

The number of people who have fled Ukraine since the war began is over 5 million, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), with more than 2.8 million of them going to Poland.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), meanwhile, said 2,345 people have been killed and 2,919 injured in Ukraine so far.

The UN rights office said it "believes that the actual figures are considerably higher, as the receipt of information from some locations, where intense hostilities have been going on, has been delayed."

The most pressing needs identified for the internally displaced in Ukraine included cash and access to financial support, followed by medicines and medical supplies, it added.  

Women, children among 'disproportionately affected'

"Women and children, the elderly, and people with disabilities have been disproportionately affected as they all represent a highly vulnerable group of people," said IOM Director General Antonio Vitorino.

"Our work in support of those forced to flee their homes and all vulnerable populations affected by the war continues, but a humanitarian cease-fire is crucial to allow for aid delivery and access to hard-to-reach communities."

Among those currently displaced internally, 15% plan to return to their homes in the next two weeks, heading mainly to Kyiv and the country's north.

At the same time, 8% of the population has reported damages to their homes by attacks.

More than half of internally displaced people – mainly in the east of Ukraine – reported a lack of some food products.

A total of 28% of families with children under the age of 5 said they experienced problems getting enough food for their children since the start of the war compared to 25% recorded in the April 1 report.