After 100 days of war in Ukraine, 5.2 million children need humanitarian assistance – UNICEF

More than three months of war in Ukraine had “tragic consequences for children on a scale and speed not seen since World War II”.

Three million children in Ukraine and more than 2.2 million additional refugee children in host countries are currently in need of humanitarian assistance.

Nearly two out of three children in Ukraine have been displaced by the fighting since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

As Friday 3 June marks 100 days since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, UNICEF says war and mass displacement are destroying livelihoods and economic opportunities for many families. These people no longer have enough income to meet the basic needs of their children and are unable to provide them with adequate support.

At least 262 children killed in the war in Ukraine and 415 wounded

The Ukrainian conflict has killed 262 children since the end of February, according to the latest figures from UNICEF. At least 415 children were injured during the conflict. According to verified reports by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, an average of more than two children are killed and more than four wounded every day in Ukraine, mainly in attacks with explosive weapons in populated areas.

The civilian infrastructure on which children depend continues to be damaged or destroyed, including, to date, at least 256 health centers and one of the six schools under the UNICEF-supported Safe Schools Program in the east of the country.

In addition to this assessment, there are hundreds of schools affected elsewhere in the province. The situation of children is also of growing concern in eastern and southern Ukraine, where fighting is escalating.

Overall, this war has created a serious child protection crisis, warns UNICEF. Indeed, runaway children are at high risk of being separated from their families and victims of violence, abuse, sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

© UNICEF/Ashley Gilbertson

A ten-year-old child walks in the yard outside his family’s apartment in central Chernihiv, Ukraine, which was destroyed by an air strike.

Without an immediate ceasefire, the children of Ukraine will continue to suffer

UNICEF’s findings come as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches 100 years of “a war that devastated the lives of millions of children”. “Without an immediate ceasefire and peace talks, children in Ukraine will continue to suffer – and vulnerable children around the world will suffer from the negative fallout of war,” said Catherine Russell, UNICEF Executive Director.

In the face of these humanitarian needs, the UN agency and its partners are working on the ground, in Ukraine and in neighboring countries. This includes providing children and families with child protection, water and sanitation, health services, nutrition and education, among other humanitarian interventions.

In refugee-hosting countries, UNICEF supports national, municipal and local systems that provide essential services. The UN agency ensures the protection of children, especially the most vulnerable.

In Ukraine, UNICEF distributed life-saving health goods and medical supplies to nearly 2.1 million people in the affected areas. The UN agency has provided access to drinking water for more than 2.1 million people living in areas where networks have been damaged or destroyed; School supplies were sent to about 290,000 children.

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