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UN: More than 870,000 Ukrainians flee the country because of armed conflict

The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has forced about 878,000 people to seek asylum, residence permits or other forms of legal stay in other countries, spokesman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Jens Laerke told a press briefing in Geneva on Tuesday noting that he was talking about the June 4 estimates.

According to the UN data released earlier, the number of Ukrainian nationals who fled the country because of the conflict totaled 867,000 people on May 28.

In addition to that, more than 1.3 million people in Ukraine who were forced to leave their homes found refuge on the Ukrainian territory becoming internally displaced persons, Laerke said, citing data provided by the authorities in Kiev.

He noted that heavy fighting in Maryinka, close to Donetsk, on June 3, led to casualties and the displacement of the population. People who left their homes are at risk, since they are forced to move avoiding the roads in the areas where there may be unexploded shells and mines.

Access to drinking water in Maryinka and the adjacent areas is becoming a growing humanitarian problem. According to Laerke, about 10,000 people there are deprived of safe drinking water. Meanwhile, in the areas close to Lugansk "thousands of people" have no access to drinking water, he noted.

According to UN estimates, about 5 million people in Ukraine need humanitarian aid. The UN Humanitarian Response Plan for Ukraine calls for $316 million to reach 3.2 million people. So far, the UN received only 24% of the required funds, Laerke noted.

[Source: Itar Tass, Geneva, 09Jun15]

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Ukraine Unrest
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