Ukraine: The devastating impact of war on children

New York, June 14, 2022 – I spent the past week in Ukraine, meeting children and families affected by war, seeing the importance of UNICEF’s humanitarian response and meeting the authorities and my colleagues at the United Nations and partner organizations.

I was able to travel to Kyiv, Erbin, Bucha, Zhytomyr and Lviv, and my time in the country gave me a clear view of the enormous impact the war in Ukraine continues to have on children, both inside and outside the country. ; Whether in the region or around the world.

The numbers are staggering and repeated. Nearly two-thirds of Ukrainian children are displaced – whether they are internally displaced or have crossed the border as refugees. Children are forced to leave their homes, friends, toys, valuables and family members and face uncertainty about the future. This instability deprives children of their future – trauma and fear can have lasting effects on children’s physical and mental health.

According to the latest figures from our colleagues at OHCHR, 277 killing children and 456 other wounded, Mainly due to the use of explosives in urban built areas. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas and attacks on civilian infrastructure must cease. They kill and maim children and prevent them from returning to normal life in the cities that are their homes.

at least 256 Attacks on health care facilities One in six “safe schools” supported by UNICEF in the east of the country was damaged or destroyed.

More than a million people no longer have access to running water

We are increasingly concerned about the state of access to drinking water, awith at least 1.4 One million people in the east of the country are without running water.

As these numbers show, the war in Ukraine is a child rights crisis, and UNICEF works to support children and families wherever they are in the country. This essential role of UNICEF in Ukraine is reflected in the recent agreement with the Government to extend the UNICEF Country Program until the end of the year. 2023, as part of the UN transition.

After more than three and a half months of war, UNICEF and its partners are evaluating the humanitarian response provided so far and directing efforts for the coming period to areas of greatest need. We have been in Ukraine for 1997 The conflict continued throughout the escalation period to provide support and protection for the lives of children and families. To date, UNICEF has provided more than 2 One million people with medical supplies and access to clean water. more than 600 000 Children and caregivers received psychosocial and mental support and over 180 000 Children participated in formal and community learning programmes.

We have partners on both sides of the border working to provide children with essential information and life-saving supplies and services. We have activated rapid response missions in the east of the country, closer to the fight, which has enabled us to help families in more than 100 Shelters close to the front lines and in hard-to-reach places. However, despite extensive efforts to ensure safe, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access, Significant challenges remain in the hardest-hit areas of the country, and we continue to advocate for safe and unimpeded access to children, wherever they are.

In the center and west of the country, where the situation is currently more stable, we provide support and strengthen the services and local authorities that already exist, such as local authorities and NGOs. An example is “Spilno Child Spots” Places where parents and their children can go for support services, including therapy and psychosocial support, to obtain supplies and information, to have the opportunity to give their children safe and natural play, while sitting with other parents, and to have brief rest and peer support. I’ve seen how important this support is at the Spilno Center in Bucha, where staff have estimated that half of the children who attend need some form of psychosocial support.

Back to school more than 2000 Children are at risk from conflict

In Irbin, I visited two schools damaged by the fighting, which put an almost complete education at risk 2 000 Children during the beginning of the school year in September. Although there are no confirmed numbers for the number of schools affected in the country, this number is likely to be in the thousands. School reform is a priority for UNICEF and the government, so children can return to safe, blended learning in September.

With generous support from governments, businesses and individuals, we can continue this work across the country and region, including humanitarian cash transfers to extremely vulnerable families.

Ultimately, as important as this work is, children need peace.

UNICEF continues to call for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and the protection of all children. Every day this war continues to increase the lasting and devastating impact on children in Ukraine, in the region and around the world. »

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