The invasion of Ukraine, ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 24, has led to a human crisis of unprecedented proportions, but which already leaves data without recent precedent, such as the exodus of more than three million people and the devastation of the city’s areas with presence of civilian population.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has already confirmed around 1,900 civilian casualties since the outbreak of the conflict, of whom more than 700 have died. However, it is believed that the actual dates will be higher as it takes time to verify dates and there are areas like Mariúpol which are an information hole resulting from the Russian siege.
Local authorities in this enclave on the shores of the Sea of Azov have reported that more than 2,000 people have died in Mariupol alone, and Ukraine’s government estimates that more than a hundred children have already died across the country. All observers agree that civilians are the first to suffer the consequences of the conflict.
In fact, in these two weeks, more than 3.1 million people left Ukraine, about two million refugees in Poland. Romania has around 500,000 arrivals, while Moldova has taken in 350,000 people, Hungary 282,000 and Slovakia 228,000, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which updates the data daily.
The United Nations had predicted four to five million refugees shortly after the Russian offensive began, and at this point few doubt that number will be reached as fighting continues. In addition, 1.9 million people are internally displaced, meaning they have left their homes but remain in Ukraine.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) estimates that up to 90 percent of Ukraine’s population could face poverty or extreme economic vulnerability as a result of the conflict. The government of Ukraine has estimated the losses resulting from the conflict at more than 500,000 million euros, although this number is also preliminary and is expected to increase.
The United Nations Humanitarian Response Plan for 2022, updated after the invasion began, estimates that 12 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2022. She is asking for $1,100 million to help six million people, and she has already received about 22 percent of that funding, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Wednesday’s bombing of a theater in Mariupol where civilians were taking refuge is one of the latest examples of Ukraine’s lack of secure buildings, despite international law providing special protections for the population and civilian infrastructure. Ukrainian authorities have accused Russia of war crimes and the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched an investigation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed attacks on more than 40 health infrastructures and warned that more than 300 are on the battlefront or in areas Russia now controls, while another 600 are less than 10 kilometers from the clashes.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Education of Ukraine has reported that about 350 educational centers were damaged and more than 60 were completely destroyed.