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GENEVA: Many of the nearly five million people who have fled Ukraine will have no homes to return to, the United Nations announced on Saturday, as another 40,000 fled the country in 24 hours.
UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said 4,836,445 million Ukrainians had left the country since the February 24 Russian invasion, up 40,200 from Friday’s total.
The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) says nearly 215,000 third-country nationals – mostly students and migrant workers – have also fled to neighboring countries, meaning that more than five million people in total have fled Ukraine since the start of the war.
It is one of the fastest growing humanitarian and displacement crises.
“People’s biggest wish is to go home. But for so many people there is no home to return to because it has been destroyed or damaged, or is in an area that is not safe,” said Karolina Lindholm Billing, UNHCR Representative in Ukraine.
“Housing is one of the areas of greatest concern. Although hundreds of thousands of people are now staying in temporary reception centers or with host families who have generously opened their homes…longer-term solutions must be found.
Nearly 2.75 million Ukrainian refugees – almost six out of 10 – have fled to Poland. More than 730,000 reached Romania.
UNHCR figures show nearly 645,000 Ukrainians fled in February, including nearly 3.4 million in March and more than 800,000 so far this month.
Women and children make up 90% of those who escaped, with men between the ages of 18 and 60 being able to be called into the army and unable to leave.
Almost two-thirds of all Ukrainian children have been driven from their homes, including those still inside the country.
Beyond the refugees, IOM estimates that 7.1 million people have left their homes but are still in Ukraine.
Prior to the invasion, Ukraine had a population of 37 million in government-controlled areas, excluding Russian-annexed Crimea and areas controlled by pro-Russian separatists to the east.
Here is a breakdown of the number of Ukrainian refugees who have fled to neighboring countries, according to the UNHCR:
Nearly six out of 10 Ukrainian refugees – 2,744,778 to date – have crossed into Poland.
Many people traveling to Ukraine’s immediate western neighbors travel to other states in the European area with open Schengen borders.
Magdalena Tosheva, IOM site manager at the Medyka crossing point in south-eastern Poland, said that despite a decrease in arrivals, refugees still needed access to information, transport, housing, work and education.
“People were coming across the border stressed, tired and cold,” she said.
“The vulnerable people are mostly women with very young children with no solutions, no parents here, no protective environment.”
A total of 732,473 Ukrainians entered the EU member state, including a large number who passed through Moldova, stuck between Romania and Ukraine.
The vast majority are thought to have gone to other countries.
Another 484,725 refugees sought refuge in Russia.
In addition, 105,000 people entered Russia from the pro-Russian separatist-held areas of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine between February 18 and 23.
A total of 454,098 Ukrainians entered Hungary.
The Moldovan border is closest to the major port city of Odessa. A total of 421,130 Ukrainians have entered this non-EU state, one of the poorest in Europe.
Most of those who have entered the former Soviet republic of 2.6 million have moved on, but an estimated 100,000 remain, including 50,000 children – of whom only 1,800 are enrolled in schools.
A total of 332,707 people crossed Ukraine’s shortest border into Slovakia.
Another 22,827 refugees have moved north to Russia’s close ally, Belarus.

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