Geneva (Times Of Ocean)- Over two million children are refugees from the war in Ukraine seeking safety across borders, and another 2.5 million children are internally displaced, 60% of whom are now displaced from their homes as attacks on urban areas continue, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported.
“The situation inside Ukraine is spiraling out of control,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “As the number of children fleeing their homes continues to climb, we must remember that every single one of them needs protection, education, safety and support.”
UNICEF and UNHCR estimate that half of the refugees from the Russia-Ukraine war are children. It is estimated that over 1.1 million children have arrived in Poland, with hundreds of thousands also arriving in Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
Trafficking and exploitation continue to be a major concern for UNICEF. UNICEF, UNHCR, and government and civil society partners are scaling up “Blue Dots” in refugee-hosting countries, including Moldova, Romania, and Slovakia, in order to reduce the risks to children and young people. A ‘Blue Dot’ is a one-stop safe space that can provide information to travelling families, identify unaccompanied children and separated children and ensure their protection from exploitation as well as act as a hub for access to essential services.
UNICEF is also working urgently with national governments and other authorities in the region to put more measures in place to keep children safe, including improving border screening for child protection.
According to UNICEF, more than 2.5 million children have been internally displaced within Ukraine. More than 100 children have been killed during the conflict, and a further 134 have been injured, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Many more children may have been killed or injured.
The organization is also deeply concerned about children and families trapped within the encircled areas due to increased security risks and the lack of safe exit routes. The country continues to experience severe shortages of food, water, heat and other basic essentials, underscoring the importance of safe, unobstructed humanitarian access across the country.
Ukraine’s school curriculum is still available online to some children who have fled the country. Others, including refugee-hosting countries, must make collective efforts to ensure their education continues. In a time of uncertainty, access to education also gives children some stability, protection, and a sense of belonging.
In Ukraine and across the refugee-hosting countries, UNICEF continues to expand its response.
UNICEF launched a humanitarian cash transfer programme this week to support 52,000 of Ukraine’s most vulnerable families.
UNICEF has dispatched 114 trucks carrying 1,275 metric tons of emergency supplies to support children and families in Ukraine and the bordering countries as of 28 March 2022. 63 trucks of supplies have arrived in Ukraine, which will serve the needs of over 8 million people, including 2 million children. Among the supplies are medicines and medical equipment, winter clothes for children, as well as hygiene, educational, and early childhood development kits.