According to the UN, more than 1,5 million refugees have fled Ukraine in 10 days

The number of people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine has passed the 1,5 million mark, constituting the fastest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War, alerted the UN on Sunday.

“More than 1,5 million refugees from Ukraine crossed to neighboring countries in ten days. This is the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II,” High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi tweeted.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported on Saturday nearly 1,37 million refugees.

The authorities and the UN expect the flow to intensify further, as the Russian army continues its offensive, particularly in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, reports of attacks on health centers in Ukraine are on the rise.

“The WHO has authenticated several attacks on health care in Ukraine, resulting in several deaths and injuries. Other information is being verified,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a tweet on Sunday.

"Attacks on medical facilities or health care workers violate medical neutrality and constitute violations of international humanitarian law," he said.

Poland is the main host country for the flow of refugees, which followed the first hostilities.

Since February 24, the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 922.400 people fleeing the conflict have entered Poland, Polish border guards announced on Sunday morning.

The day before, Saturday, arrivals reached a record level with 129.000 travellers, the vast majority of citizens of Ukraine, but also from several other countries including Poland, Uzbekistan, Belarus, India, Nigeria, Algeria, Morocco, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and Russia, according to the same source.

According to the UN, 4 million people may want to leave the country to escape the war.

The first WHO situation report published on Saturday evening indicates that 18 million people are affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

WHO has deployed staff to Moldova, Romania and Poland to increase its response capabilities. The UN health agency has also mobilized logistics experts in Poland to set up an operations center and help secure land corridors, to facilitate the rapid delivery of assistance to affected populations.

On March 4, WHO shipped its first batch of medical supplies to Poland, which arrived in Ukraine by land. This assistance should in particular make it possible to meet the health needs of 150.000 people, including 1.000 people requiring surgical care.

A second shipment was on its way Saturday.

The editorial staff (with AFP)

Image credit: Shutterstock / Janossy Gergely

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