Ukraine: the refugees “are surely much more numerous” than in the estimates, according to the director of the NGO Care

Philippe Lévêque, director general of Care, estimated on Sunday evening February 27, on franceinfo, that people who fled the fighting in Ukraine “are surely much more numerous” that, according to United Nations estimates, which lists 368,000 refugees and displaced since the start of the Russian invasion on Thursday.

franceinfo: There are already 368,000 refugees, according to the UN. Is it likely to increase further?

Philippe Leveque: They are surely much more numerous since it is the submerged part of the iceberg. Most of the needs are of course on the Ukrainian side. Within European, Romanian and Polish borders, the response is being organised.

Does your action in Ukraine differ from that carried out elsewhere in the world?

It is a difficult situation because it is very different from what we usually know in Africa or the Middle East. We are on a European population, an older population. 25% of people are over 60, so these are slightly more fragile populations. They are essentially women and children, that’s what we see in Romania or Poland, since the men have remained in combat. It is also a population that is used to a much more sophisticated level of health and medical access than elsewhere, so the needs will be great. We are already seeing people arrive with serious and chronic pathologies. For now, we are not too equipped to deal with it.

How is humanitarian aid organized? What should be done first?

It is the financial means that are lacking, so we are calling for donations. Then, it will take teams mastering the Ukrainian, Moldavian, Romanian language. For the time being, aid is provided at border posts. We did not return to Ukraine. We can’t work there. All we can do is send funds to association partners who are already in Ukraine. Banks still operate. You can still get supplies in stores, there is no shortage yet. For the moment, it is the transfer of funds which is the most important. I believe this will be one of the fundamental needs in the coming weeks.

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