UN humanitarians on Thursday said no fewer than 870,000 people who fled abroad since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24 have now returned home.
In their latest emergency update, UN humanitarians said the population returned to Ukraine amid concerns about deteriorating food security inside the country.
Citing the State Border Guard Service, the UN aid coordination office, OCHA, said that 30,000 people are crossing back into Ukraine every day.
The recent returnees reportedly included women with children and older persons, compared to mostly men at the beginning of the escalation.
“This significant figure suggests that migration back to Ukraine might continue increasing, potentially creating new challenges for the humanitarian response,” OCHA said in a statement. “It will create new challenges as people will need support to reintegrate into their communities or find suitable host communities if returning to their homes is no longer viable.”
Of the 12 million people in need in Ukraine, humanitarians have reached 2.1 million of them, and the UN’s $1.1 billion flash appeal for Ukraine is now 64 per cent funded.
Fighting is concentrated in the eastern and southern oblasts – or regions – of Ukraine, causing damage and civilian casualties and driving humanitarian needs.
In its latest emergency update, OCHA also reported that two humanitarian workers and five of their relatives had been killed in eastern Donetsk oblast.
They were sheltering at the Caritas Mariupol office when the building was reportedly hit by rounds fired from a tank, probably on March 15, although the information only became available recently, as the city had been cut off for weeks.
In a statement, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, said he was “deeply saddened” by the news of the deaths.