Despite the foggy and uncertain nature of war, there are some inevitabilities, among them: death, destruction, and displacement.
Hundreds of thousands of people have already fled Ukraine, as Russian forces invade on three sides. The country’s neighbors and the European Union are opening their doors to allow civilians to flee the conflict.
Airbnb’s nonprofit division, Airbnb.org, will provide free temporary housing to up to 100,000 refugees, the company announced on February 28.
Hundreds of thousands of people have already fled Ukraine, as Russian forces invade on three sides.
Fleeing war: The U.N. estimates more than 500,000 refugees have fled Ukraine for points west, so far — abandoning cities under assault ahead of Russian invasion forces.
Snaking lines of buses and cars stretch from checkpoints at the borders of E.U. nations Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania, as well as neighboring Moldova, according to the Associated Press. Refugees are also arriving by foot, small suitcases in tow, and by train.
Trains into the Polish border town of Przemysl bring not only refugees, but harrowing accounts of their flight, like a crush to get on, a scene “very scary, and dangerous physically and dangerous mentally,” Natalia Pivniuk, from the city of Lviv in Ukraine’s west, told the AP.
In anticipation and response, the E.U. announced that all war refugees from Ukraine would be accepted. But there has been confusion and disappointment for nationals of other countries, including India, Nigeria, and other African nations, who were working or studying in Ukraine.
Some African refugees have been turned away at the Polish border, DW reports, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had to clarify that everyone fleeing the conflict zone should be admitted.
Hosts and refugees: The majority of refugees are staying with friends and family in Poland, Romania, Slovakia, or Hungary, DW reported. But many more will need shelter, at least temporarily, as the war continues.
Now, Airbnb and Airbnb.org have told officials in Poland, Germany, Hungary, and Romania that they can help house up to 100,000 refugees, Reuters reports.
The rental platform, its nonprofit arm, and host volunteers will collectively chip in to provide temporary housing for people fleeing the war.
It is not the company’s first time providing housing in times of crisis. Airbnb.org provided housing to over 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan, the company said, which has over the past five years connected over 50,000 refugees to temporary housing.
We’d love to hear from you! If you have a comment about this article or if you have a tip for a future Freethink story, please email us at [email protected].