GENEVA: More than eight million people are estimated to have been internally displaced by Russia’s war in Ukraine, having fled their homes and stayed within the country, the United Nations said Tuesday.
This is in addition to the more than 5.9 million Ukrainians who have left the country entirely since Moscow invaded on February 24.
The figure for the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) as of May 3, issued by the UN’s International Organization for Migration, is up from the estimate of 7.7 million that the IOM gave as of April 17.
“The needs of those internally displaced and all affected by the war in Ukraine are growing by the hour,” said IOM director general Antonio Vitorino.
“Access to populations in need of aid remains a challenge amid active hostilities, but our teams are committed to continue delivering urgent assistance inside Ukraine and in neighboring countries.”
The IOM conducted its latest survey between April 29 and May 3.
Sixty-three percent of current IDPs are estimated to be women.
Almost half of the IDPs have fled their homes in the eastern region of Ukraine, where Russia is now concentrating its assault.
More than 3.9 million people are estimated to have fled their homes in the east; 1.65 million have fled the Kyiv region and 1.3 million have fled the north.
The survey found that 36 percent of IDPs — 2.9 million people — are now in the relatively safer west of the country.
The IOM study found that financial support was the overwhelming need among IDPs, with shelter another pressing need.
“Nine percent of all people surveyed in the latest report, including those not internally displaced, indicated that their homes were damaged or destroyed,” the IOM said. “Among the internally displaced alone, this figure rose to 27 percent. Every one out of 10 people surveyed said that they would need materials to fix damaged homes.”
The rapid representative assessment was conducted through interviews with 2,000 anonymous respondents aged over 18 who were contacted at random by telephone.
The survey is used by the IOM to gather insights into internal displacement and mobility and to assess the humanitarian needs in Ukraine.