More than one million people have escaped Ukraine over the past seven days since Russia's full-fledged invasion, the United Nations (UN) announced while one of their officials pointed out "at this rate" the exodus might become "the biggest refugee crisis this century".
According to the latest tally from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 2 per cent of the Ukrainian citizens, which the World Bank estimated at approximately 44 million at the end of 2020, are moving across borders over the last seven days.
Furthermore, the agency also precautioned that the outflows were far from over. It has been predicted that nearly four million people could eventually leave the war-struck country and that the prediction could also be revised upward.
'Exodus To Neighbouring Countries'
"Our data indicates we passed the 1 million mark" as of midnight in central Europe, based on counts collected by national authorities, a spokeswoman for the UNHCR, Joung-ah Ghedini-Williams, was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.
UN High Commissioner Filippo Grandi also took to Twitter and said: "In just seven days we have witnessed the exodus of one million refugees from Ukraine to neighbouring countries."
As the spine-chilling sounds of gunfire, exploding mortar shells and artillery fire echoed across numerous parts of Ukraine, Grandi's remarks testified to the massive desperation of the Ukrainian residents, as well as the increasing concern of a humanitarian disaster by UN agencies, like the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
After over 82,000 people fled Ukraine on day one of the Russian invasion on February 24, each day afterwards recorded a minimum of 117,000 new refugees, striking a height of almost 200,000 on March 1 alone, as per the latest UNHCR tally.
Refugees Of War
To put into context, Syria - a country that witnessed the ignition of a civil war in 2011- remains one of the nations with the highest refugee outflows, had almost 5.7 million people, as per the UNHCR. However, even at the fasted flight rate in early 2013, it took nearly three months before 1 million refugees left the war-struck Syria.
In 2015, thousands of Syrian and other refugees, primarily in Turkey, escaped to Europe, stirring chaos in the European Union (EU) over its skirmishes and response and pushbacks at a few national borders.
As per the official data from the UN, over half of those running away from Ukraine went to Poland, and over 116,000 headed towards Hungary to the south. Furthermore, Moldova has also taken in more than 79,000, while 71,200 have gone to Slovakia.
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