The UN said on Tuesday that the number of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine has now reached 3 million.
“We have now reached the 3 million refugees and among them 157,000 are third-country nationals,” said International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokesman Paul Dillon at a news briefing in Geneva.
He said at least 1.8 million of the refugees have gone to Poland, 453,000 to Romania, 337,000 Moldova, 263,000 Hungary, and 213,000 to Slovakia. Russia has also received around 143,000 refugees.
1.5 million children forced to flee
Meanwhile, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder said as many as 1.5 million children have also fled Ukraine.
“More than 75,000 children have become refugees every day. That's around 55 children every minute of this war" which began on Feb. 24, Elder said. “This refugee crisis is in terms of speed and scale, unprecedented since World War II, and is showing no signs of slowing down."
He added: “Like all children driven from their homes by war and conflict, Ukrainian children arriving in neighboring countries are at significant risk of family separation, violence, sexual exploitation, and trafficking."
Situation in Mariupol
Ewan Watson, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the situation for hundreds of thousands of people in the southeastern port city of Mariupol is “dire and desperate” and the people there are “being suffocated.”
“We are still not able to get aid into Mariupol and the situation remains dire and desperate,” said Watson, referring to a reported Russian military siege of the port city.
“The bottom line is that hundreds of thousands of people are still suffering. With no aid, the people in Mariupol are being suffocated.”
The Red Cross spokesman said there is no specific agreement for the desperately needed safe passage for civilians out of the city.
“This is an extreme situation of life and death where people are facing impossible choices to feed their families," he said. "We urgently need an agreement between the parties to bring aid in and to ensure the safe passage out for those wishing to leave.”