“The war has caused one of the fastest large-scale displacements of children since World War Two,” said UNICEF chief Catherine Russell.
This includes more than 1.8 million who have crossed into neighbouring countries as refugees and 2.5 million who are now internally displaced. According to UN human rights office,OHCHR, 78 children have been killed, and 105 have been injured in Ukraine since the war began on 24 February. But these figures represent only those casualties that the UN has been able to confirm – with the true toll likely far higher.
“This is a grim milestone that could have lasting consequences for generations to come”, Ms. Russell warned. The war has also devastated civilian infrastructure and limited access to basic services. Over the last four weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 52 attacks that have impacted health care facilities across the country and Ukraine’s Education and Science Ministry has reported damage to more than 500 educational facilities.
“Essential infrastructure on which children depend, including hospitals, schools and buildings sheltering civilians, must never come under attack,” the top UNICEF official declared. Meanwhile, some 1.4 million people now lack access to safe water; 4.6 million people have limited water access - under threat of being entirely cut-off - and more than 450,000 babies aged 6 to 23 months, need complementary food support. “Children’s safety, wellbeing and access to essential services are all under threat from non-stop, horrific violence,” she said.
To support the millions of families who have fled Ukraine, UNICEF and the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, have partnered with governments and civil society organizations to create so-called “Blue Dots,” safe spaces along border crossings for children and families.
They provide key information to traveling families; help identify unaccompanied and separated children; ensure the protection of those travelling on their own; and offer a hub for essential services – as the threat from child and sex trafficking gangs increases. ‘Blue Dots’ have been established in countries hosting Ukrainian children and women and will be scaled up, including to more than 20 in Poland alone.
Despite intensive efforts to ensure safe, rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access, significant challenges remain across the country. As 7.5 million children still in Ukraine remain at risk, UNThe war is taking a toll on Ukraine's kids. Psychologists share how parents can helpICEF said it was working around the clock there, and providing psychosocial support and protection services.