News Home » World » Huge Ukrainian Refugee Wave Now More Than 3 Million: 'Kids Shouldn't See the Murder'

Around the World

Huge Ukrainian Refugee Wave Now More Than 3 Million: 'Kids Shouldn't See the Murder'

Randy Mancini 4 Mar 15

The flood of people fleeing Ukraine now tops 3 million according to the International Organization for Migration

The United Nations has described the migration as Europe's biggest refugee crisis since World War II and projects that as many as 6 million may eventually leave Ukraine.

Maria Bokova made the difficult decision to leave Kyiv and cross into Poland with her sister and three young children. 

"I believe that kids shouldn't see the murder or they shouldn't hear the bombs falling on their city," she said. "That's why we are here."

Her husband, a pastor with the army, has stayed back to minister to Ukrainian soldiers.

Bokova is tearful at the thought that she and her children may have said their final goodbyes to him.

"It's very difficult for three kids to leave their father, to understand that something can happen and we don't know whether we see him," she said. "We hope that we see him but nobody knows. So we just pray that God will stop this war."

Poland has transformed into a refugee hub since Feb. 24th, with more than a million Ukrainians choosing it as their destination for now. Many cite the language similarities as well as centuries of shared culture and history, along with Poland's status as a NATO country.

READ  'We Hope in the Lord': These Ukrainians Are Grateful for Operation Blessing's Urgent Aid as UN Predicts 6M Refugees

***Donate to OPERATION BLESSING Relief Efforts in Poland and Ukraine***

Other top countries receiving Ukrainians include Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Moldova. They're all faced with the prospect of housing and feeding these refugees as well as helping them to process their trauma.

Viktoria Filonchuk, also fleeing Kyiv with her children, said she's worried about how they'll cope. "Little kids don't understand this, but kids about 3 to 4 years they understand all the tragedy," she said. "I think it is very hard for them."

Aid worker Daniel Gradinaru said older refugee children will be marked by the painful events for years to come. "I hope that where they are going the people receiving them will give them counseling," he said.

Officials estimate that half of the refugees are children and some are even traveling alone. One mother sent her 11-year-old son to cross the border by himself as she stayed in Ukraine to care for her elderly mother. 

Humanitarian organizations like Operation Blessing are moving quickly to provide food, water and other basic supplies for Ukrainian refugees.

***Donate to OPERATION BLESSING Relief Efforts in Poland and Ukraine***

The European Union is urging member states to take advantage of a temporary protection directive that will give immediate legal status to those who've fled the Russian invasion and allow them access to housing, medical care and education.

Sophie Magennis, the head of the policy and legal support unit at the UN's refugee agency, said the directive helps both refugees and the governments who process them.  "It's the best vehicle to deliver immediate protection and it's also the best way to avoid a build-up of cases in the asylum system," she said. 

The directive provides legal status for at least a year, giving refugees time to regroup and either seek a new life abroad or return home to Ukraine.

READ  Orphan's Promise Provides Food and Shelter to Desperate Families Across Ukraine: 'We Share Jesus with Them'