A new safe passage operation to evacuate 300 civilians stranded in Mariupol and other communities, many of whom left only with the clothes they were wearing, has been completed, the United Nations said Thursday.
“Over 300 civilians from Mariupol, Manhush, Berdiansk, Tokmak, and Vasylivka are now receiving humanitarian assistance in Zaporizhzhia (around 138 miles away),” said UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine Osnat Lubrani.
“Many came with nothing but the clothes they were wearing, and we will now support them during this difficult time, including with much-needed psychological support.”
The UN official said that while this second evacuation of civilians from areas in Mariupol and beyond is significant, much more must be done to ensure all civilians caught up in fighting can leave in the direction they wish.
“Our work with the parties to guarantee safe passage for civilians will continue,” said Lubrani.
The safe passage operation coordinated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the parties to the conflict, and the UN saw several dozen civilians leave the Azovstal steel plant area in Mariupol and reach Zaporizhzhia during a five-day safe passage operation.
“We are relieved that more lives have been spared,” said Pascal Hundt, the ICRC’s head of delegation in Ukraine.
The war that has affected every aspect of civilian life since Russia launched its attacks on Feb. 24 continued with the World Health Organization chief Tedros Ghebreyesus saying on Wednesday that the WHO has now verified 186 attacks on healthcare in Ukraine.
“Scores of civilians were able to leave Mariupol yesterday (Tuesday), and WHO and our partners were able to receive them and provide healthcare,” said Tedros.
“Humanitarian corridors like this are critical to getting civilians to safety and health services to those in need. We urge the Russian Federation to allow people to leave Mariupol and other areas where civilians are at great risk. We continue to call on the Russian Federation to end this war.”
The Human Rights Office's latest confirmed civilian casualty figure for the war in Ukraine since Feb. 24 is 3,238 deaths and 3,397 injured, but the UN notes that the real figure is considerably higher.