That number includes more than 1.8 million refugee children who crossed international borders and went into exile in neighboring countries, and 2.5 million who are now displaced within Ukraine. “The war has resulted in one of the fastest large-scale displacements of children since World War II,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.
After a month of war, more than half of the children of#Ukraine have been moved.
While families must leave everything behind to seek safety, UNICEF provides mental health and protection services to children.
Illustration by Pawel Kuczynski. pic.twitter.com/1V5rbYiS01
– UNICEF (FR) (@UNICEF_FR) March 24, 2022
More than 3.6 million people, most of them women and children, have fled Ukraine and the fighting sparked by Russia’s Feb. 24 offensive, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) census released on Wednesday. In all, about ten million people, or about a quarter of the population, were forced from their homes.
The UN estimates the number of internally displaced persons in Ukraine at almost 6.5 million. About 90% of those fleeing Ukraine are women and children.
For UNICEF, these population movements represent “an ominous move” that could have “lasting consequences for generations to come.” A reminder that ongoing violence across the country has created a child rights crisis that could last for generations. “Children’s safety, welfare and access to essential services are all threatened by appalling and ongoing violence,” Ms Russell added.
Since the beginning of the war, 78 children have been killed and 105 injured
According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), 78 children have been killed and 105 injured in Ukraine since the war began on February 24.
“However, these numbers represent only reports that the UN has been able to confirm, and the true number is likely much higher,” UNICEF said.
This war in Ukraine is also leading to an increase in the needs of vulnerable populations. According to the UN agency, more than 450,000 children aged 6 to 23 months are in need of additional food assistance.
In addition, the Fund has already observed a reduction in immunization coverage for routine and childhood immunizations, including measles and polio. This could quickly lead to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, particularly in crowded areas where people are taking refuge from violence.
“In just a few weeks, the war has wreaked such havoc on Ukrainian children,” said the UNICEF Executive Director.
To protect and support the millions of children and families who have fled Ukraine, UNICEF and UNHCR have created “Blue Dots”, safe places for children and women from a single source. These areas provide important information for traveling families, helping to identify and ensure the protection of unaccompanied and separated children.
For UNICEF, it is a hub for essential services. “Blue dots” have already been established in countries accepting Ukrainian children and women and will be strengthened in the coming days, notably with more than 20 dots in Poland.