Don’t forget other crises amid Ukraine focus, UNHCR chief warns

BRUSSELS, May 20 (Reuters) – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees warned on Friday that countries focused on helping Ukraine should not ignore crises elsewhere, which were likely to worsen due to the war.

Filippo Grandi said the “colossal crisis” in Ukraine would raise the number of displaced people globally well above the 84 million it reached in late 2021, with some 6 million refugees from Ukraine and 8 million people displaced inside the country.

“Unfortunately the global displacement crisis is increasing. I think an important message… is that there is not just Ukraine and we should not forget the rest,” Grandi said before joining a meeting of EU development ministers in Brussels.

“First of all because Ukraine has an impact on many other fragile situations, making them more fragile, food security, energy crisis, price increases, instability and then this in turn can cause more displacement,” he said.

Grandi urged EU members and other countries not to reduce overseas development aid because of higher spending related to the Ukraine crisis, such as to cope with the influx of refugees, as for example Sweden has done.

“If we do that and at the same time we weaken the response in other places, it will backfire. Then we will have higher costs in other places to cover,” he said.