Today the UN High Commissioner for Refugees made the grave announcement that the official number of Ukrainian citizens that have fled the afflicted country now surpasses two million. For many, escape has been rendered impossible with Russian forces ignoring agreed civilian corridors and continuing their heavy shelling, making the journey away from their homeland a death mission for some residents.
Yet this number will only grow as the war continues, posing massive challenges to the infrastructure of receiving countries who have committed to granting refugees automatic asylum but in many cases, lack the capacity to welcome the dispossessed asylum seekers.
This is already the case in Belgium, where large numbers of displaced Ukrainians have overwhelmed reception centres, having no choice but to wait hours on end in the hope that they will receive shelter. Whilst EU states were quick to grant unconditional asylum to the refugees, the gap between good intentions and living up to them has become clear.
Belgium was already struggling to process asylum seekers who arrived before the Ukraine conflict exploded on 24 February. Many are sceptical about whether it can handle this new influx and have turned to citizens organisations rather than wait indefinitely on state provision.
For even the most empathetic, it is difficult to comprehend the scale of human catastrophe without bearing personal witness to it. Now, with victims of a war-torn country seeking protection in Belgium, the faces of war become increasingly visible, as does their plight.
Have you been affected by the war? Let @Orlando_tbt know.
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