One month of war leaves more than half of Ukraine’s children displaced |

“The war has caused one of the fastest large-scale exodus of children since World War II,” speak UNICEF Chief Catherine Russell.

This includes more than 1.8 million people who have sought refuge in neighboring countries and 2.5 million who are currently internally displaced.

Grim landmark

According to the UN human rights office, OHCHR78 children have been killed and 105 wounded in Ukraine since the war began on 24 February.

But these numbers only represent casualties that the UN can confirm – with the true number likely to be much higher.

“This is a grim milestone that could have lasting consequences for generations to come,” Ms. Russell warned.

Destruction reigns

The war has also devastated civilian infrastructure and limited access to basic services.

Over the past four weeks, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 52 attacks that affected healthcare facilities across the country, and Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science reported damage to more than 500 educational institutions.

“The essential infrastructure on which children depend, including hospitals, schools and buildings that shelter civilians, should never be attacked,” the top UNICEF official said.

Meanwhile, about 1.4 million people currently do not have access to clean water; 4.6 million people have limited access to water – in danger of being completely cut off – and more than 450,000 infants aged 6 to 23 months need supplemental food support.

“Children’s safety, health and access to essential services are all threatened by unrelenting appalling violence.

Urgent need for peace and protection

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), one in three displaced people in the country has a chronic illness – exacerbating the health of those with non-communicable diseases.

And as immunization rates plummet, including for measles and polio, outbreaks of these vaccine-preventable diseases could also increase.

“In just a few weeks, the war has wreaked havoc on Ukrainian children,” Ms. Russell added.

“Children desperately need peace and protection. They need their rights,” she continued, calling for an immediate ceasefire and more protection for children.

On the ground

UNICEF and its partners are working to provide humanitarian assistance to the children of Ukraine and neighboring countries.

It has provided medical supplies to 49 hospitals in nine regions of Ukraine – including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Lviv – improving access to healthcare for 400,000 mothers, infants and children .

While the United Nations agency continues to distribute water and sanitation supplies in besieged communities, it is also increasing the number of mobile child protection teams in acute conflict zones. count.

In the coming weeks, UNICEF will begin delivering emergency cash to the most vulnerable families and setting up child-friendly spaces in key locations across the country.

A young Ukrainian girl rests with her dog after arriving in Medyka, Poland with her family.

© UNICEF / John Stanmeyer / Photo VII

A young Ukrainian girl rests with her dog after arriving in Medyka, Poland with her family.

Green dot

To support the millions of families who have fled Ukraine, UNICEF and the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCRhas partnered with governments and civil society organizations to create the so-called “Blue dot“Safe spaces along border crossings for children and families.

They provide key information for traveling families; help identify unaccompanied and segregated children; ensure the protection of those traveling alone; and provide a hub for essential services – as the threat from sex and child trafficking gangs increases.

‘Blue Dots’ has already been established in countries with Ukrainian children and women and will be expanded to include more than 20 in Poland alone.

Despite active efforts to ensure safe, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access, significant challenges remain across the country.

As 7.5 million children in Ukraine are still at risk, UNICEF says it has been working around the clock there providing psychosocial protection and support services.

The threat of human trafficking

As long as the conflict continues, the United Nations Office on Drugs (UNODC) indicates that fugitives are at risk of becoming targets of criminal networks.

“Evidence from conflicts shows that criminals profit from the chaos and despair of war,” speak UNODC Executive Director, Ghada Waly.

She added: “The crisis increases vulnerability as well as opportunities to exploit those in need, especially internally displaced people and refugees.

Citing UNHCR figures indicating that about 90% of Ukraine’s more than 3.6 million refugees are women and children, the senior UN official warned that they are “particularly at risk of being human trafficking and exploitation”.

“The longer the conflict drags on, the more vulnerable they become as they struggle to start a new life,” explains Ms. Waly.

Refugees from Ukraine enter Poland at Medyka border gate.

© UNHCR / Chris Melzer

Refugees from Ukraine enter Poland at Medyka border gate.

Critical situation

Human trafficking from Ukraine, is a longstanding illegal industry with criminal networks operating between Ukraine and countries in Europe and Central Asia.

“Those who have escaped the conflict are in a very dangerous and precarious situation,” said Ilias Chatzis, UNODC’s Head of the Department of Human Trafficking and Migration, “especially since most women are Women leaving Ukraine are all traveling without other adult family members and some children are even traveling alone. ”

“They can be more easily deceived by fake travel arrangements and fake job offers that expose them to exploitative situations. Traffickers are known to use such methods, as well as violence, to trick and coerce their victims.”

Damaged Unit 4 reactor and shelter in Chernobyl, Ukraine.

© IAEA / Dana Sacchetti

Damaged Unit 4 reactor and shelter in Chernobyl, Ukraine.

Increased danger to employees of the Chernobyl plant

In a later development on the same day, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEARafael Mariano Grossi said Ukraine informed the agency that Russian forces were shelling Ukrainian checkpoints in the city of Slavutych, “where many people working at the nearby Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant were born. lives, putting them at risk and preventing the movement of personnel to and from the site.”

Ukraine’s governing body said the shelling was endangering the “homes and families of radiation and nuclear safety personnel” of the Chernobyl plant, which is under the control of Russian forces. from February 24th. Slavutych is located outside of the Exclusion Zone established around the plant, following the 1986 accident.

Mr. Grossi expressed concern about this development, which comes just days after technical staff at Chernobyl, could finally turn and return to their home in Slavutych and rest after working almost four weeks without changing shifts, and he said the IAEA will continue to closely monitor the situation. Staff currently working at the site, also from Slavutych.

Earlier today, the regulator also informed the IAEA that it did not expect wildfires burning in the area around Chernobyl, to raise any concerns about radiation, a day after the regulator The country’s official said that the Ukrainian fire service was trying to put out fires in the area.

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