The UN High Commissioner for Refugees admitted on Friday that he was appalled by the destruction caused by the war in Ukraine at the end of a six-day visit to the country, and urged donors to continue their support.
“I was shocked at the level of destruction I saw as a result of Russian missiles and bombing,” Filippo Grandi said at the end of his visit, his third to the country since the start of the Russian invasion in February last year.
“Many civilian infrastructures, such as power plants, water supply systems, kindergartens and apartment buildings, were damaged or destroyed and many civilians, including children and the elderly, were killed or fled their homes, their lives completely destroyed by attacks. senseless,” said the head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in a statement released this Friday.
According to Grandi, who toured the south and east of the country for six days and met with civilians and officials from the administrative regions of Odessa, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhia, Dnipro, Kharkiv and kyiv, humanitarian needs remain acute in Ukraine and it is necessary that the financing is maintained and even increased.
The High Commissioner also met with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, with the Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov and with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba.
Filippo Grandi stressed that, in addition to the destruction, he also witnessed the repairs and reconstructions carried out by the Ukrainian authorities and citizens.
“Although the buildings were destroyed, the spirit of the Ukrainian people remains intact,” he said.
“I am very inspired by strength and resilience [dos ucranianos]. It is up to all of us, the international community, to support them as they carry out their recovery and I call on states, international financial institutions and others to contribute to this task, and quickly,” he said.
To facilitate the process, UNHCR launched, together with the Government of Ukraine, a digital platform called “Ukraine is a home” – which aims to be a meeting point between the supply and demand for help for the repair and reconstruction of houses.
“The aim is to provide a transparent and efficient system of humanitarian aid, recovery and development by the private sector and other partners to pool funds and material support to help people, including refugees and internally displaced persons, to return to their homes. “, the agency explained. the ONU
However, Grandi warned that humanitarian needs remain deep, especially in frontline regions.
“Humanitarian funding must therefore be maintained and expanded. This is key to stabilizing populations and allowing war-affected people to contribute to the recovery of the country and the economy,” he argued.
“Donors – governments, companies and individuals – have been incredibly generous over the last year. This must be sustained if we are to give people the support they urgently need today and next year,” he concluded.
The military offensive launched on February 24, 2022 by Russia in Ukraine has so far caused the flight of more than 14 million people -6.5 million internally displaced persons and almost eight million to European countries-, according to the latest data from the UN, which classifies this refugee crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945).
Right now, 17.7 million Ukrainians need humanitarian aid and 9.3 million need food aid and shelter, according to the UN.