Odesa attack likely to spur new wave of humanitarian need and suffering

Missile attacks on the Ukraine city of Odesa could unleash a new refugee wave into neighbouring countries, World Vision Australia CEO Daniel Wordsworth said today.

Speaking from Romania – where he has returned to help as World Vision expands its response to the escalating refugee crisis – Daniel said the reported missile strikes on Odesa realised the worst fears of residents, and was likely to fuel a fresh wave of people fleeing into Moldova and Romania. The attack reportedly claimed the life of a three-month-old baby, which Daniel said reinforced World Vision’s calls for humanitarian corridors. 

The attacks, coinciding with the two-month anniversary of the conflict, come as the total number of people fleeing Ukraine into neighbouring countries hits 5.2 million, and the number of people displaced within Ukraine tops 7.7 million, with more than two million children forced to flee Ukraine

“The statistics around children are particularly distressing – half of all children in Ukraine have fled their homes in the past two months, they are being forced to take a dangerous journeys with parents and family, crossing borders, never knowing when they might be able to return,” Daniel said.

“We’re hearing reports that Romanian authorities are preparing to accept up to 300,000 refugees a day in the coming weeks,” Daniel said. “Countries like Romania and Moldova – one of Europe’s poorest nations – are already buckling under the weight of this crisis.

“For some time now, they have been bracing for the prospect of Odesa coming under attack as they know this will force even more Ukrainians to seek refuge in neighbouring countries that will have to meet their needs. Bucharest authorities earlier estimated an attack on Odesa could see up to 10,000 refugees pour into that city alone.

“What this will mean is even more people needing shelter, more needing food, more needing money in their pockets, but worst of all, even more children traumatised by a conflict which has torn them from the lives they knew.”

World Vision had been continually scaling up its response to cope with the burgeoning refugee inflow and the huge numbers of people displaced within Ukraine, he said. It is currently aiming to have help more than 325,000 people across the three countries by the end of May.

“Each prediction on refugee numbers out of Ukraine has been smashed well ahead of expectations, so each week we’ve had to ramp up what we are doing, and how and where we plan to respond.

“By the end of next month we will have helped over 325,000 people with cash, food, shelter, hygiene kits and psychosocial support. And, sadly, that’s unlikely to slow down. As bad as people’s situations are in neighbouring countries, inside Ukraine we’re seeing dreadful situations of desperation and deprivation, so we’re going to have to keep responding for a long time to come.”

World Vision is hiring about 40 staff to work inside Ukraine as World Vision sets up offices in the west of the country, as well as boosting its responses in Romania and Moldova.

Daniel will be on the ground in Romania, Moldova and Ukraine and available for the , till the 30 April, 2022.

Daniel Wordsworth Social Media:
Follow World Vision CEO Daniel Wordsworth further for how we are helping: Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Media Contact:
 For further information or to organise an interview, please contact: Mike Bruce at mike.bruce@worldvision.com.au or on 0403 920 189

World Vision Australia Ukraine Crisis Appeal:

For Australians who want to help, go to World Vision Australia’s Ukraine crisis appeal at https://www.worldvision.com.au/global-issues/world-emergencies/ukraine-appeal.


Back to all Results