More than a hundred days of war in Ukraine mean more than five million children are in great need of humanitarian aid. That’s three million children in Ukraine, and more than 2.2 million children in refugee-hosting countries.
Data provided by UNICEF shows that the war has had a devastating impact on children, it is the most extensive and lightning-fast since World War II. The organisation has been actively involved in helping children in Ukraine itself, as well as those who had to flee to other countries, including the Republic of Moldova, ipn.md reported.
According to reports provided by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, more than two children are killed and more than four injured every day in Ukraine – mostly as a result of rocket attacks in populated areas. The civilian infrastructure on which children depend continues to collapse, with at least 256 health facilities and one of six UNICEF-supported “safe schools” in the east of the country to date. Hundreds of other schools across the country have also been damaged. Conditions for children in eastern and southern Ukraine, where fighting has intensified, are getting worse.
UNICEF warns that the war has caused an acute child protection crisis. Children fleeing violence are at significant risk of family separation, violence, abuse, sexual exploitation and trafficking. Most of them have experienced profoundly traumatic events. These children are in urgent need of safety, stability, child protection services and psychosocial support, especially those who are unaccompanied or separated from their families. More than anything else, they need peace.
At the same time, war and mass displacement destroy livelihoods and economic opportunities, leaving many families without sufficient income to meet basic needs and unable to provide adequate support for their children.
UNICEF continues to call for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and for all children to be protected from trauma. This includes an end to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and attacks on civilian infrastructure. UNICEF calls for full humanitarian access to reach children in need safely and quickly, wherever they are.
In Moldova, more than 52,000 refugees, mostly female-headed families, have been enrolled in the financial assistance programme. UNICEF Representative in Moldova, Maha Damage, said children and parents arriving in Moldova are traumatized by what they have seen and are in dire need of security and stability. “More than nine thousand children and their companions have visited Blue Dot First Aid Centres in Moldova, which provide a safe place for children, and their parents can get the advice and support they need. At the centres, we can identify unaccompanied children and mothers can breastfeed their babies,” said Maha Damage, quoted in the press release.
Maha Damage noted that the war in Ukraine has created a crisis in child protection, and travelling children are at very high risk. “UNICEF Moldova is conducting nationwide anti-trafficking training for border police. Children from Ukraine have endured 100 days of horror and we must continue to protect them,” Damage added.
In addition, UNICEF Moldova provides monthly financial aid. So far, more than 52,000 Ukrainian refugee families from Moldova have received support in partnership with UNHCR.
UNICEF has pledged $624.2 million to support its humanitarian response inside Ukraine and $324.7 million to respond in countries hosting refugees.