“The situation in Ukraine is deteriorating,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “As the number of children fleeing their homes continues to increase, we must remember that each of them needs protection, education, safety and support.”
Children make up half of all refugees from the conflict in Ukraine, according to UNICEF and UNHCR. More than 1.1 million children have arrived in Poland, and hundreds of thousands have also arrived in Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
UNICEF continues to warn of increased risks of human trafficking and exploitation. To reduce risks for children and young people, UNICEF, UNHCR and government and civil society partners are multiplying Blue Dots in countries hosting refugees, including Moldova, Romania and Slovakia. Blue dots are secure one-stop-shops that can provide information to traveling families, identify unaccompanied and separated children and ensure their protection from exploitation, and act as a hub for access to essential services.
UNICEF is also urgently working with national governments and authorities in the region to take additional child protection measures, including through increased child protection checks at border crossings.
UNICEF appreciates that more than 2.5 million children have been displaced within Ukraine. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has investigated more than 100 children were killed during the conflict and 134 other children were injured. The actual toll is likely to be much higher.
UNICEF is also deeply concerned about the plight of children and families who are stranded in cordoned off areas or unable to walk due to heightened security risks and a lack of safe escape routes. Reports of severe shortages of food, water, heating and other basic needs continue to mount, underscoring the importance of safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all areas of the country.
Some children who fled Ukraine can still access their Ukrainian curriculum online. For others, a concerted effort is needed, including by countries hosting refugees, to ensure their education continues. In addition to the opportunity to continue learning, access to education gives children stability, protection and belonging even in uncertain times.
UNICEF continues to expand its operations in Ukraine and in countries hosting refugees.
This week UNICEF launched a cash transfer program to help 52,000 of Ukraine’s most vulnerable families.
As of March 28, 2022, UNICEF has dispatched 114 trucks carrying 1,275 tons of supplies to help children and families in Ukraine and neighboring countries. 63 truckloads of relief supplies have arrived in Ukraine, which will meet the needs of more than 8 million people, including 2 million children. Deliveries include medicines and medical equipment, children’s winter clothing, and hygiene, education, early childhood development and recovery kits.
Note for media:
Multimedia material is available here: https://weshare.unicef.org/Package/2AM4080ZGVFH
To find out more about UNICEF’s work in Ukraine, click here: unicef.fr