The number of refugees who have fled Ukraine has now reached 1.2 million, the International Organization for Migration said Friday. This could become the “biggest refugee crisis this century,” the U.N. has said, predicting that as many as 4 million people could leave. The European Union decided Thursday to grant people fleeing Ukraine temporary protection and residency permits.

Walking the final 14 miles to Ukraine’s border and to safety, Ludmila Sokol was moved by the mounds of clothes and other personal effects that many people discarded as they fled the fighting before her., Ap reports.

“You should have seen things scattered along the road,” said the gym teacher from Zaporizhzhia. “Because the farther you carry things, the harder it is.”

Like more than 1 million others, she’s grappling with the pain of leaving everything behind.

Sokol has found a home in Paris with her former gymnastics coach, a “second mother” whom she first met as a child. “I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but the only thing I know is that everything will be fine because Victoria Andreevna is nearby.”

Her host tied a homemade Ukrainian flag to a fishing rod to wave in a small gesture of defiance over Russia’s invasion.

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