IOM Expands Assistance in Romania for People Fleeing Ukraine

IOM staff load the buses for the Palanca-Huși fast-track transfer corridor. Photo: IOM/Mihai Eremia

Bucharest – As the needs of those fleeing the war in Ukraine become more complex, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Romania is strengthening its efforts to assist them with support from the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) through its Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF).

More than 800,000 people have entered Romania from Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict, a third of whom were third-country nationals. At least 80 percent of them are women and children, according to national authorities.

“We are striving to be the link between institutional efforts and the impressive wave of solidarity showcased by civil society,” said Mircea Mocanu, IOM Head of Office in Romania. “Leveraging our 30 years of experience assisting migrants and the generous financial assistance from the CEB, we have managed to quickly develop tools which have vastly improved the situation of people forced to leave their homes for safety in Romania.”

In the framework of the CEB-backed project, IOM is providing ground transportation for those fleeing Ukraine, including third-country nationals, from the Republic of Moldova to Romania. The fast-track transfers – jointly developed by IOM and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, together with the Governments of Romania and the Republic of Moldova – provide a safe, orderly and dignified way to travel from the border with Moldova to Romania.

Since March 8, more than 9,400 people have used the fast-track transfer for safe passage from the border crossing point in Palanca, Republic of Moldova, to Huși, Romania, and onward transportation to reception centres.

While facilitating entry into Romania, the system helps to streamline movements at the border with Moldova, ensure efficient border formalities, and reduce pressure at border crossing points, reception centres and infrastructure.

As part of the project, IOM also arranges direct assistance on a needs basis to those who arrive in Romania. This may include accommodation, food and relief items, referral to medical assistance, and psychological support.

IOM is also providing voluntary humanitarian return assistance for third-country nationals whose return to their country of origin is a safe and viable option. This support includes counselling, housing arrangements and consular support, as well as travel arrangements.

IOM is expanding the collection of reliable and comprehensive data, which plays an essential role in responding to the needs of those affected by the war. To this end, the project also includes a data collection component and analysis of movements, vulnerabilities, needs and mobility intentions of those displaced by the war in Ukraine.

IOM has already surveyed over 2,300 people to better understand mobility dynamics and strengthen the crisis response in the region. By gathering and analyzing this data, key actors and stakeholders will be better equipped to provide those displaced with timely, tailored assistance specific to their vulnerabilities and needs.

“The war in Ukraine is creating a humanitarian crisis that threatens to overwhelm the social systems of countries receiving unprecedented inflows of refugees,” said CEB Governor Carlo Monticelli. “We are firmly committed to continue supporting our member states and partners in the field to respond to this increasingly complex situation with the required urgency.”

With almost €2.8 million in regional grants provided by the CEB, IOM is mobilizing teams and scaling up capacity in Romania, the Republic of Moldova, Poland, Hungary and the Slovak Republic to support countries in efforts to strengthen assistance to those fleeing Ukraine.

For further information, please contact:

Lucian Știrb in Romania, Tel: +40747223993, Email:

Monica Chiriac in Romania, Tel: +40733259391, Email: 

Ryan Schroeder in Brussels, Tel: +32 492 25 02 34, Email: 

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