The UN Refugee Agency has welcomed a Japanese government airlift bringing humanitarian aid to help some of the millions of Ukrainians forced to flee their homes after Russia invaded their country.
The Japanese government was responding to UNHCR’s call for assistance, by providing air transport to bring core relief items to Romania and to Poland, from where they will be transported to Ukraine.
„As humanitarian needs continue to rise, this critical support… will enable UNHCR to provide internally displaced people in Ukraine with basic essentials including blankets, kitchen sets, plastic sheeting, and solar lamps, “ a press release on Tuesday said.
Romania’s government is facilitating the transit through the country to those affected by the invasion.
“This support from the Government of Japan allows UNHCR.. to reach the most vulnerable inside Ukraine. As the invasion continues, support from the partners,” like the Romanian and Japanese governments “remains critical for UNHCR to reach those in need”, said Pablo Zapata, UNHCR Representative in Romania.
In less than 12 weeks, the invasion forced one-third of Ukraine’s population to flee their homes in what is the largest human displacement crisis in the world today.
Some 8 million people have been displaced internally within Ukraine and some 13 million people are estimated to be stranded in affected areas or unable to leave.
Inside Ukraine, many people who are trapped are unable to meet their basic needs including food, water, and medicines.
By mid-May, some 900,000 refugees from Ukraine had crossed into Romania, with some 90,000 choosing to remain in the country.
The delivery of life-saving aid remains challenging, with a lack of safe humanitarian access. UNHCR and partners continue to strive to reach hard-hit areas with life-saving assistance as part of inter-agency convoys, the statement said.
“In addition to the USD 200 million emergency humanitarian assistance already announced for Ukraine and neighboring countries, the Japanese government is very pleased to be able to cooperate with Romania and UNHCR.”
“This joint operation symbolizes the collaboration among Japan, Romania, and UNHCR. Romania proves the proverb; “a friend in need is a friend indeed”, said Hiroshi Ueda, Ambassador of Japan to Romania.
The airlift is one of several supported by the Japanese government to Romania and to Poland.
Japan has also donated USD 40.1m and other core relief items provided donated by Japanese nationals and companies to „Ukraine and its neighboring countries that have so generously opened their doors to Ukrainians fleeing the conflict,” the statement said.