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Ukraine: Number of displaced dramatically increases

Ukraine: Number of displaced dramatically increases
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Some 16,400 eastern Ukrainians fled their homes in the week of the short-term ceasefire in the area.

This led to the number of displaced in the country reaching 54,000, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

“We are seeing a sharp rise in (internal) displacement in Ukraine,” Melissa Fleming, chief spokeswoman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told a news briefing.

A further 110,000 left Ukraine for Russia between January and June 2014.

Many, such as this man, say they fear for their children’s safety:
“In Donbas, our region, shooting has started,” he said. “We are afraid for our lives and for our children’s lives. We lived peacefully before and everything was fine. Now, there is a war.”

A long line of people could be seen queuing at the Izvaryne crossing in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine.

“It’s really scary, everybody is leaving and running away. It’s scary. If we didn’t have a kid it would probably be easier,” said one woman.

Of the 110,000 who have left Ukraine for Russia, only 9,500 have sought refugee status in the neighbouring country. Others have registered to stay for up to 90 days.

Meanwhile, 700 Ukrainians have gone to Poland, Belarus, the Czech Republic and Romania since the start of 2014, according to Fleming.