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UN Welcomes and Supports Initiative to Fast-track Transfer of People Fleeing Ukraine to Romania Through Moldova

Chisinau - The Moldovan and Romanian Governments, supported by the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration, IOM have set in place the transfer of people who fled Ukraine, including third country nationals, from southern Moldova to Romania, a journey of some 230 kilometres. The first convoy departed Palanca Border Crossing Point this morning, transporting 250 refugees to Huși in Romania. 

As of 10 March, over 300,000 people have fled Ukraine into Moldova with 83,000 refugees staying in the country. Many more may come should the situation in the southwest of Ukraine deteriorate.  

The Government of Romania is generously stepping forward in solidarity with the Republic of Moldova, to support them in managing the reception of those refugees fleeing Ukraine in huge numbers. 

“We are grateful to the Governments of the Republic of Moldova and Romania, and all countries neighbouring Ukraine for their rapid response and generosity,” said Lars Johan Lonnback, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Moldova. 

“The number one priority is to ensure that all those fleeing the war have protection, shelter, basic needs and support services, including psychosocial assistance. Safe onward transport will ensure crowds do not build up at border crossings putting added pressure on the existing infrastructure and will help protect women and girls from the risks of human trafficking and gender-based violence.” 

UNHCR and IOM in Romania are providing eight buses to transfer the refugees between the Border Crossing Points of Palanca in Moldova and Albița in Romania, where the Moldovan and Romanian Border Police will carry out crossing formalities.  

The final stop will be in the Romanian town of Huși, where the Romanian Department for Emergency Situations has organized a transit facility. From there the refugees will be transferred to other locations in Romania, according to their respective needs. 

“This is a commendable initiative and an excellent demonstration of solidarity with the people and Government of the Republic of Moldova and also reflects the excellent collaboration with the Romanian authorities to address pressing challenges,” said Roland Schilling, UNHCR Representative for Central Europe.  

“The initiative of the two countries is very much in line with the global commitments outlined in the Global Compact on Refugees, for equitable responsibility sharing, which UNHCR has always been advocating for” he added. 

IOM and UNHCR are also in discussion with the authorities of the Republic of Moldova about the opening of new crossing points between Ukraine and Moldova and are sourcing mobile document readers to ensure people are registered upon arrival in Moldova, prior to onwards movement, and to ensure that their needs are met.  

For further information please contact:

In Chisinau: 

Joe Lowry, IOM regional spokesperson on +373 6869 7118, jlowry@iom.int 
Kisut Gebre Egziabher on +373 677 22468, gegziabk@unhcr.org 

In Bucharest:  

Lucian Stirb, Communication Officer on +40 747 223 993, lstirb@iom.int 
Gabriela Leu, Communications Associate on +40 722 212 097, leu@unhcr.org 

In Brussels: 

Ryan Schroeder, Regional Media and Communication officer on +32485597348, rschroeder@iom.int 

In Geneva:  

Louise Donovan, donovan@unhcr.org +41767680010