Over 7,000 Ukrainian refugees and 1,000 vulnerable third country nationals fled war to Belarus – IOM report
More than 7,000 people have fled the war in Ukraine into Belarus. They add to the thousands of migrants from countries like Iraq, Cuba, Syria, Afghanistan who have entered since summer 2021.
Up to now, the paucity of information on refugee and migrant flows, their precise number and locations, their needs and intentions has been a significant challenge in terms of provision of quality and timely assistance.
To fill this gap, IOM Belarus, in cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, UN agencies and Belarusian Red Cross, has rolled out country’s first Displacement Tracking Matrix. DTM is IOM’s tool in use worldwide to gather and analyze data on the mobility, vulnerabilities, and needs of displaced and mobile populations. Such data enables decision makers and responders to provide these populations with appropriate assistance.
According to the DTM report, there are approximately 7,200 Ukrainian refugees and 1,100 third country nationals in Belarus. They come principally from the Donetsk region, but also from Luhansk, Kharkiv, Kyiv and Chernihiv.
Almost half of them entered Belarus directly from Ukraine, 33 per cent from Poland, 19 per cent from the Russian Federation, and less than 1 per cent from Lithuania and Latvia, Belarus’ other neighbours.
Of the vulnerable migrants who entered Belarus in summer-autumn of 2021, the DTM survey found that the majority are men from 19 to 39 years old. About half of them plan to stay in Belarus, while the other half intend to move forward to Germany, Spain, France, Poland, and other countries, or return to the country of origin.
Most of the Ukrainians plan to stay in Belarus as for now, as there they have relatives and friends there, but one in three expressed a desire to go home as soon as possible. Among them was Tatsiana, a pensioner from Ukraine, who now lives in Vitsyebsk, Belarus. “I hope I will live long enough to come back to a thriving Mariupol, where all the people will return to when this war is over,” she said.
The majority of Ukrainian refugees in Belarus have either higher or specialized secondary education in the service sector, engineering, manufacturing, construction and education. The ones intending to stay in Belarus plan to continue their professions as lawyers, doctors, nurses, teachers, accountants or in the service sector as cooks, hairdressers, and security personnel.
Almost every refugee and migrant interviewed within DTM received humanitarian assistance in Belarus, mostly from international organizations including IOM, and the Belarusian Red Cross. All of them still require more support – financial assistance, food and hygiene items, clothes, access to healthcare services.
IOM provides all these types of assistance, while also supporting migrants with accommodation, transportation, and employment.
Read the full report here.
For more information, please contact Hanna Kalichava, IOM Belarus Public Information Assistant - firstname.lastname@example.org, +375 29 568 44 94.