Public/Global Health

WHO says 500,000 Ukrainian refugees have mental health issues

Associated Press / Anja Niedringhaus

A World Health Organization (WHO) representative on Tuesday said that 500,000 Ukrainian refugees are experiencing mental health issues amid the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Reuters reported.

During a briefing in Geneva, Paloma Cuchi, WHO’s Poland representative, said 30,000 of the Ukrainian refugees have severe mental health problems.

Cuchi also said at the briefing that Ukrainian refugees are suffering from a range of health problems, including diarrhea and dehydration, and that refugees need extra support for the trauma they experienced, according to Reuters.

“The needs of the refugees are many … many health problems on arrival from Ukraine,” Cuchi said. “What we are seeing at the reception centers is fever, diarrhea, hypothermia, upper respiratory tract infections, cardiac arrest, mental and emotional distress.”

The numbers come as Russia’s initial invasion of Ukraine, which began last month, has forced Ukrainian citizens to flee their native country. 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees shared on Friday that Poland has welcomed more than 2 million refugees from Ukraine since the start of the invasion. 

A WHO representative also said at the briefing that almost 4 million Ukrainian refugees have left the country, adding they will have resources to provide support to neighboring countries during the crisis, Reuters reported. 

“We did have a planning figure for 4 million. … Now we are fast approaching that figure,” the WHO representative said. “At this stage … we don’t plan to put out a new planning figure. But of course, we’re ready to react and provide the resources that are needed for any … increase above that number in all the neighboring countries but also to support within Ukraine.”

Tags . Russia-Ukraine conflict Poland World Health Organization
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