2022 in Review: War in Ukraine Adds to Record Displacement Worldwide

Dec 14, 2022

by Sharon Samber


A year ago, as 2021 wound to a close, one could have hoped that 2022 would turn the page on what had been a difficult year, one dominated by the pandemic and the Afghanistan refugee crisis — and there might be some peace and quiet and perhaps even some improvement for displaced persons around the world.

But only 55 days into the new year, those hopes were dashed. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 initiated a major war that changed the global refugee picture and brought the number of displaced people in the world to a record 100 million. In the first months following the invasion, one-third of Ukrainians were forced from their homes, resulting in the largest displacement crisis in Europe since World War II.

HIAS responded by providing immediate financial resources to Right to Protection (R2P), the independent Ukrainian NGO HIAS helped found in 2013, to bolster the organization’s ability to provide crucial legal and humanitarian aid to internally displaced people. With HIAS’ support, R2P implemented a direct cash distribution program, established a telephone hotline, and helped refugees find temporary housing and navigate needed social services. Then, realizing the need for long-term help as well, HIAS re-established operations in Ukraine to provide services, opened new offices in Poland, Moldova, and Romania, and partnered with local organizations and communities to reach the growing numbers of people in need. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, HIAS and our partners have helped 650,000 displaced people in Poland, Moldova, and Romania.

“2022 will be remembered as the year that HIAS reopened in Europe to help European refugees fleeing for their lives,” said Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS. “We have seen this too many times in our history — but throughout the United States and Europe, HIAS and the Jewish community continue to rise to the challenge. We are working every day to give refugees the opportunity to make new homes and new lives.”

While the refugee crisis in dominated the news for much of the year, 2022 brought many other significant challenges that informed HIAS’ work. Asylum seekers continued to arrive in large numbers at the U.S.-Mexico border, where a holdover policy first implemented by the Trump administration worsened a humanitarian crisis. Meanwhile, Afghan refugees temporarily resettled in the United States following the 2021 collapse of the government in Afghanistan struggled to secure legal status. Within HIAS, community engagement through private sponsorship of refugee families as well as advocacy priorities grew throughout the year. HIAS continued its own growth as well, reaching more than 1.1 million people.

Here is a look back at some important moments from 2022:

As this challenging year comes to an end, there is much work to do to mitigate the plight of refugees around the world. But, with a dedicated global staff of more than 1,700 and thousands of supporters behind us, HIAS is well positioned to continue to make a difference in 2023.

Originally published at https://hias.org on December 14, 2022.



HIAS is the international Jewish humanitarian organization that provides vital services to refugees and asylum seekers in 16 countries.

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HIAS is the international Jewish humanitarian organization that provides vital services to refugees and asylum seekers in 16 countries.