Ukraine refugee numbers hit 5 million


  • Ukraine refugee numbers hit 5 million less than two months since conflict began
  • Need for basic food and hygiene supplies within Ukraine increasing rapidly
  • World Vision Australia CEO to return to Europe to help with the humanitarian response to reach vulnerable people displaced and affected by the conflict

April 18, 2022 -
The number of refugees forced to flee Ukraine has hit a staggering 5 million, as World Vision continues respond to the spiralling crisis in the region.

The 5 million mark has come in just over seven weeks of fighting, making it the most rapid exodus of refugees in memory. And as Russia reportedly prepares to mount further attacks in eastern Ukraine, and Odesa under threat, World Vision Australia CEO Daniel Wordsworth said the region must brace for that number to swell even further.

“The speed and scale of this crisis has been shattering,” said Daniel, who is preparing this week to return to the region to help with World Vision’s refugee response. “Earlier estimates predicted the number of refugees would hit 4 million by July. Here we are in mid-April, and 5 million people have taken the extraordinary, life-changing decision to leave their homeland. Imagine, for example, the entire population of New Zealand seeking refuge in Australia.”

Daniel said the situations World Vision is witnessing in neighbouring countries are bad enough. “But we are also hearing dreadful stories of the desperation and deprivation inside Ukraine - of people who are hungry, without consistent shelter and without livelihoods, and of the continued impacts this is having on children.

“That 5 million figure doesn’t include the estimated 7.1 million people who’ve sought refuge within Ukraine and who are in desperate need of food, shelter and protection. There are almost 3 million people who’ve sought whatever refuge they can find in the towns and cities of western Ukraine alone.

“Among all these numbers, though, the most upsetting is the reality that well over half of Ukraine’s 7.5 million children have had to flee their homes. That’s several million children who are either refugees in a foreign land or effectively trapped within their own country. These children have been ripped from their friends, communities, schools and the normality that are a source of such comfort and security for children.

“The job of caring for Ukrainians will be a long one, but the job of repairing the damaged souls from this conflict will be even longer,” Daniel said.

In response to the burgeoning crisis, World Vision has been scaling up its response in Romania, Ukraine and Moldova. With a presence in Romania for more than three decades, World Vision’s locally led team was able to respond as soon as the conflict began. World Vision has since been helping refugees as they transit Romania and Moldova and is aiming to increase its response 10-fold within the next few weeks.

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For further information or to organise an interview, please contact: Mike Bruce at or on 0403 920 189

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