In response to the growing Ukrainian refugee crisis, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and humanitarian partners appealed for increased financial support to help refugees and the neighboring countries hosting them.

Launching an updated Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP) for the Ukraine situation on April 25, UNHCR and partners are seeking US$1.85 billion to support a projected 8.3 million refugees in neighboring countries, namely Hungary, the Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, as well as other countries in the region, including Belarus, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.

It is reportedly launched against the backdrop of continued fighting, destruction and displacement inside Ukraine.  So far, the war has uprooted more than 12.7 million people in the past two months alone – of whom more than 5 million have fled as refugees across the borders and 7.7 million remain displaced inside the country, according to UNHCR.  Almost 13 million more people are reportedly also estimated to be stranded in affected areas or unable to leave due to security risks.

The human impact and the suffering already caused by this war are staggering, according to the appeal.  Families have been torn apart, houses and infrastructure have been destroyed, while the trauma of war will have a lasting impact on many of those forced to flee their homes, including women and children who represent some 90 per cent of those forced to flee.

Since the onset of the war, countries in the region have continued to keep their borders open and to welcome refugees.  The mobilization of national authorities, host communities, grassroots organizations and tens of thousands of volunteers across neighboring countries and beyond has been remarkable and shows what can be achieved with a “whole-of-society” approach, and in the spirit of the Global Compact on Refugees.

Under the leadership of various host country governments, the RRP brings together 142 organizations including UN agencies, the IFRC and national Red Cross societies, national and international NGOs, faith-based institutions, civil society and academia.

It reportedly focuses on key sectors including protection, food security, health and nutrition, education, basic needs, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihoods and resilience, energy and environment and logistics.  The appeal says transitional cash assistance, which has already benefited tens of thousands of refugees in neighboring countries, is a key priority in providing dignified assistance to refugees.

This plan aims to ensure that all refugees fleeing Ukraine have access to safety and international protection.  It aims to ensure timely and life-saving humanitarian assistance to refugees fleeing Ukraine and third-country nationals, of whom a sizeable number would need international protection.  The plan also focuses on solutions through the promotion of social and economic opportunities.