Mapping Ukraine: Rapid displacement and a flood of global help

Pavel Klimov/Reuters
People stand in a long line during the distribution of humanitarian aid near damaged blocks of apartments in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, March 24, 2022.

War in Ukraine has meant massive displacement for the nation’s people. Their need – and Russia’s threat to Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty – has also sparked a massive global response of aid and support.

What’s remarkable is the combination of scale and speed. Ukraine may lag behind Syria as a source of refugees in recent years, yet the crisis in Ukraine has caused about 1 in 4 Ukrainians to leave their homes – and in the space of just a few weeks.

Some $1 billion in private charitable donations for Ukraine doesn’t yet outweigh donations that helped victims of Hurricane Katrina. But philanthropic pledges are growing about as fast as aid did for Louisianians after Katrina. Military and humanitarian assistance from nation states pushes the total much higher still.

Why We Wrote This

Sometimes a big news event is best understood when viewed through multiple lenses. On Ukraine, in addition to our text stories and our recent webinar, we view the conflict here through graphics – to show the scale of human displacement and aid in response.

Our graphics (below) depict how Russia’s invasion has affected many of Ukraine’s most populous areas. One key question now is how to get the targeted relief to where it’s needed.

“In the current crisis, national and international humanitarian groups have limited or no access to areas under attack,” a recent report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service says. 

Another major challenge: Helping front-line nations like Poland that have been flooded with people fleeing Ukraine. The European Union has adopted a measure providing temporary protection to persons fleeing Ukraine and is channeling aid to affected neighboring countries as well as to Ukraine itself.


WorldPop, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Institute for the Study of War, Candid, news reports and government statements, Forum on the Arms Trade

Jacob Turcotte/Staff
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