June 20 marks World Refugee Day, designated by the United Nations to honor refugees around the globe. According to UNHCR’s latest annual Global Trends report, the number of people fleeing wars, violence, persecution, and human rights violations in 2020 rose to nearly 82.4 million people.
Sadly, Ukraine contributes to the rise of this statistic, as the number of IDPs (internally displaced persons) has been mostly growing ever since Russia occupied Crimea and invaded parts of Ukraine’s eastern regions. As of June 8, 2021, their number amounted to 1,469,676 people, out of which:
- 1,192,751 families
- 195,390 children under 18 years old
- 395,193 persons of working age
- 51,549 persons with disabilities
Lack of housing, income, and employment opportunities remain the biggest issues for IDPs trying to integrate into their host communities, according to a June 2020 survey by the UN’s migration agency, IOM. Challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic heighten IDPs vulnerability.