UN Says Over 1.5 Million Refugees Have Now Fled Ukraine

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The United Nations estimates that more than 1.5 million refugees have now fled Ukraine.

"More than 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine have crossed into neighbouring countries in 10 days — the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II," the UN posted on Twitter.

500 refugees are believed to have arrived in Ireland, with plans to allow a total of 20,000 into the country. Most of those who have already arrived have family members residing here.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said it will be "very, very challenging" to meet the accommodation needs of the expected numbers. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has hinted that Irish people may be asked to volunteer to accept refugees into their homes. Several such offers have already been made. The government is working with the Irish Red Cross to record any such offers of help.

"Work is ongoing to put in place a national pledge portal to help coordinate offers of support," said Integration Minister Roderic O’Gorman. "We’ll have this portal up and running shortly. We appreciate the outpouring of offers of accommodation and support in the coming weeks. Many will be asking how can I best respond right now? Today, we encourage you to give financial support to aid agencies and international organisations who are working on the grounds on Ukraine’s western borders, follow Irish charities like the Red Cross for more information, the government will provide further updates over the coming days."

Hotels are expected to house refugees initially. The EU has granted temporary protection to Ukraine refugees, who will be allowed to live, work and study in all member nations.

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