Global Report 2022
2022 Year-end population figures
Refugees and asylum-seekers: 5.7 million, 87% are women and children
IDPs: 5.9 million
2022 Situation overview
The Russian invasion of Ukraine and full-scale war has caused the world’s fastest-growing displacement crisis since the Second World War. In 2022, nearly one third of Ukrainians were forced to flee their homes. By the end of year, an estimated 5.9 million people were internally displaced by the war, while nearly 5.7 million refugees and asylum-seekers from Ukraine were recorded across Europe.
In response, UNHCR significantly scaled up operations in Ukraine and refugee-hosting States, establishing coordination structures for inter-agency activities and supporting Government-led responses. UNHCR and its partners reached 4.3 million people inside Ukraine with assistance. By year-end, UNHCR disbursed $226 million to around 1 million people to meet their most urgent needs. UNHCR and its partners also assisted more than 1.3 million people with protection services including legal assistance, information on rights and entitlements, psychosocial support, child protection and gender-based violence prevention and response. Protection monitoring, previously carried out along the “contact line”, was rolled out countrywide, and UNHCR’s partners set up a regular presence at Ukraine’s border crossing points with EU Member States and the Republic of Moldova to provide support to those fleeing the war and seeking safety abroad. Given the number of actors involved in the response and the fact that the majority of refugees were women and children, UNHCR trained over 1,100 staff of more than 110 humanitarian partners on protection from sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) and supported 18 PSEA risk assessments to identify and seek to mitigate key risks. Given the massive destruction of homes, energy and other essential infrastructure in Ukraine, winterization activities were crucial. UNHCR assisted nearly 1.5 million people through cash assistance top-ups, winterized non-food items, the improvement of reception facilities and the repair of individual homes.
UNHCR’s response was coordinated closely with the Government of Ukraine at the central and local level, with the aim of reinforcing the national response and systems. Building on the existing inter-agency coordination structures, UNHCR scaled up coordination of the Protection and the Shelter and Non-Food Item clusters and helped launch a new Camp Coordination and Camp Management cluster.
UNHCR also prioritized support for local actors in Ukraine. 200 community groups were supported through capacity-building initiatives and helped to implement small scale projects like information hubs, awareness-raising campaigns, social and cultural events, and psychosocial and recreational activities. Such initiatives served to strengthen social cohesion between people displaced in Ukraine and the communities hosting them. More than 1,000 people from community associations were trained in outreach to war-affected populations, including those at risk of exclusion or neglect, or who had difficulties accessing humanitarian support.
UNHCR disbursed $202 million in multi-purpose and protection-specific cash assistance to nearly 500,000 refugees. UNHCR also directly assisted nearly 500,000 refugees from Ukraine with protection services, including through 39 “Blue Dot hubs” established by UNHCR, UNICEF and other partners in eight refugee-hosting countries. Refugees received protection counselling and help with accessing accommodation, education, health care, livelihoods and assistance for specific needs. In addition, more than 1.7 million people were reached through the “Stay Safe” campaign, with key messages on protection risks during flight and onward movements. UNHCR’s Help pages in all countries neighbouring Ukraine were continuously updated with key information for refugees and received more than 2.5 million visits in 2022.
The European Union’s Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) and similar national protection schemes across the continent provided a sound legal framework for the protection and inclusion of refugees in national systems. Nearly 5 million Ukrainians registered for temporary protection in Europe during the year. To learn about refugees’ experiences, future intentions, and protection risks, UNHCR carried out protection monitoring and collection of information through missions, surveys and interviews. This informed priorities for the refugee response, and the results were shared and consulted on with national authorities, civil society, NGOs, development agencies, private sector actors and refugee communities. In particular, protection monitoring data highlighted that 78% of respondents had been separated from immediate family members, which exacerbated protection risks for the refugee community. Refugees also called attention to the often interdependent barriers to their enjoyment of rights under the TPD, including barriers to registration, documentation, education, social protection, employment, healthcare, accommodation and family reunification. Persons with specific needs were found to face obstacles in part due to a lack of systematic identification processes, hindering their inclusion in national systems and services.
In its role as Refugee Coordinator, UNHCR launched the inter-agency 2022 Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRP) for the Ukraine Situation and coordinated its implementation. The RRP brought together the activities of 142 partners across seven countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, the Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia). Through the RRP, humanitarian partners have reached millions of refugees with protection and assistance. Over 1.1 million people received support in accessing protection and documentation, while over 360,000 children benefited from child protection services. Almost 1 million refugees received in-kind support and nearly 885,000 people received urgent cash assistance to cover their most urgent basic needs. This process was led in a collaborative and consultative manner with Government authorities, aid agencies, civil society and affected populations, including women- and refugee-led organizations. Specific Working Groups for Protection, Education, Inclusion, Health, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, and Anti-Trafficking, among others, were activated at the regional and country levels to support the efforts of the concerned Governments.
UNHCR also established and coordinated PSEA networks in Hungary, the Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, bringing together more than 170 entities in national networks co-chaired with national or local NGOs. More than 3,300 humanitarian workers were trained on PSEA and more than 46,000 refugees were reached through awareness-raising activities. UNHCR and its partners conducted 19 PSEA risk assessments and launched five National Action Plans on PSEA in countries neighbouring Ukraine. A regional safeguarding and PSEA network was also established to support regional coherence, learning and exchange.
Overall, UNHCR successfully managed a fast and large-scale operational response to the Ukraine situation in the region, simultaneously expanding its presence inside Ukraine and establishing or boosting its presence in refugee-hosting countries. This included quickly identifying suitable staff for immediate deployment, setting up office structures, shaping the humanitarian coordination architecture, and assessing needs during an emergency of vast proportions, while promoting inclusion from the onset. Some innovative processes introduced during the initial stages of the emergency, such as the regional cash hub and the centralization of payments that served to speed up delivery of protection and assistance, will be continued and replicated in other regions.
Global Appeal 2023
2023 situation overview
The international armed conflict in Ukraine has forced millions of people to leave their homes in search of safety and protection. They will require assistance inside the country and across Europe.
In Ukraine, homes and critical infrastructure have been damaged and destroyed. Outages of electricity, heating and water have been seen in many areas, while other services such as health care, public transport and internet connectivity have also been disrupted. As a result, many people find themselves without accommodation and unable to meet their basic needs, including for food, water and medicine. The delivery of assistance remains difficult in many areas due to ongoing hostilities and the resulting lack of safe humanitarian access. In 2023, the needs inside Ukraine are expected to remain enormous. UNHCR will continue to support the Government in its response to the needs of internally displaced and conflict-affected people, responding to immediate needs through cash assistance, the distribution of core relief items, shelter and winterization support, while contributing to early recovery as part of the coordinated inter-agency response.
Most refugees from Ukraine have fled to neighbouring countries, while some have sought safety elsewhere in Europe. Host countries continue to demonstrate extraordinary solidarity, providing refugees with protection and assistance. The scale of the displacement, however, continues to put considerable pressure on available services. In 2023, the focus of the response is expected to transition from emergency response to supporting governments in fostering the inclusion of refugees in national systems. Some operations, including in the Republic of Moldova, will continue small-scale, targeted cash-for-protection programmes for the most vulnerable. Given the exceptionally high proportion of women and children among the refugees, activities to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse and trafficking will remain a priority, as well as child protection activities.
UNHCR will continue to extend its support to refugee-hosting countries in the coordination of the response, including through the Regional Refugee Response Plan for the Ukraine situation.
The Russian Federation’s military offensive against Ukraine launched on 24 February 2022 has triggered one of the fastest-growing refugee emergencies in history, and the largest since World War II. Millions of people have been displaced internally or forced to seek refuge abroad. Across Ukraine, critical infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed. This has caused total outages of electricity, heating and water in some areas, while other services such as internet connectivity, medical care and public transport have been disrupted. As a result, many people find themselves with no resources or information on where to find safety and accommodation and are unable to meet their basic needs including food, water and medicines. Given the lack of safe humanitarian access, the delivery of life-saving aid is difficult in many areas.
An estimated 90% of the refugees from Ukraine are women and children. They have mostly fled to neighbouring countries. Most have fled to Poland, but significant numbers have sought safety in Hungary, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, and other countries in the region. These countries have demonstrated extraordinary solidarity, providing immediate assistance to people arriving but the scale of the displacement is putting considerable pressure on available services, and on hosting communities. Of the refugee population, a significant portion has continued onward to other European countries.
OCHA’s revised Flash Appeal outlines the most pressing needs of 17.7 million people inside Ukraine, 6.2 million of whom are IDPs. As per its mandate, UNHCR has in parallel coordinated the regional Refugee Response Plan (RRP) for the Ukraine Situation, responding to the needs of people who have fled Ukraine. The recalibrated Refugee Response plan was issued in October 2022. This will support governments in responding to the needs of up to 9.65 million refugees in Hungary, the Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and other affected countries, and provide support to hard-pressed host communities.
Given that the emergency has exceeded the worst-case scenario, UNHCR’s additional requirements for the Ukraine Situation are $1,416.8 billion for March to December 2022.
Source: 2022 budget as approved by the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme at its 72nd session in October 2021.