More than half of Ukraine’s children and adolescents have been displaced since a month of war

New York / Geneva / Kyiv, March 24, 2022 – One month of war in Ukraine has displaced 4.3 million children and adolescents – More than half of the country’s estimated population of 7.5 million children and adolescents. This includes more than 1.8 million girls and boys who have crossed the border as refugees in neighboring countries, and 2.5 million who are now internally displaced in Ukraine.

Katherine Russell, Executive Director of UNICEF, said: “This war has caused the largest mass displacement of children and adolescents since World War II.” “This is a terrible milestone that could have far-reaching consequences for the next generation. The safety and well-being of children and adolescents and their access to essential services is under threat of horrific and incessant violence.”

According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), 78 children have been killed and 105 injured in Ukraine since the start of the war on 24 February. However, these numbers only represent the reports that the UN was able to confirm, and the actual number is probably much higher.

The war also had devastating consequences on access to civilian infrastructure and basic services.

The World Health Organization (WHO), for example, has reported 52 attacks in the past four weeks that have affected health facilities across the country, with Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science citing damage to more than 500 educational facilities. An estimated 1.4 million people do not have access to safe drinking water, while 4.6 million people have limited access to water or this access is at risk of being cut off. More than 450,000 children aged 6 to 23 months need complementary food aid.

UNICEF has already noticed a decline in immunization coverage for routine and childhood immunizations, including measles and polio. This could lead to rapid outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, especially in populated areas where people are seeking refuge from violence.

“In just a few weeks, the war has wreaked such havoc on children and adolescents in Ukraine,” Russell said. “Children and adolescents urgently need peace and security. They need rights. UNICEF has called for an immediate ceasefire and the protection of children and adolescents from harm. The infrastructure that children and adolescents rely on, including hospitals, schools and civilian housing, should never be attacked. “

UNICEF and its partners are working to reach out to children and adolescents in Ukraine and neighboring countries with humanitarian assistance.

In Ukraine, UNICEF has provided treatment to 49,000 hospitals in nine regions – including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Lviv – improving access to healthcare for 400,000 mothers, newborns, children and adolescents. UNICEF continues to distribute water and sanitation items to the affected communities. In addition, UNICEF has increased the number of mobile child protection teams operating in the conflict zone from 22 to 50 and provided 63 trucks of essential supplies to meet the needs of more than 2.2 million people. In the coming weeks, UNICEF will begin making emergency cash transfers to the most vulnerable families and establish places for children and adolescents in key locations across the country.

To protect and support the millions of children, adolescents and families fleeing Ukraine, UNICEF and UNHCR, in partnership with the government and civil society organizations, have created the Blue Dot Center, a safe haven for children, adolescents and women. The Blue Point Center provides important information for traveling families, helping to identify unaccompanied and isolated girls and boys and to ensure their safety. They provide a focal point for essential services. The Blue Dot Center has already been established in countries hosting Ukrainian children, adolescents and women, and is expanding in the coming days, with more than 20 in Poland.

Despite intensive efforts to ensure safe, fast, and uninterrupted human access, significant challenges remain in the most affected areas across the country.


How to help?
In Brazil, UNICEF is conducting a fundraising campaign in Ukraine to support its humanitarian response. Grants can be made here.


Notes to editors:

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Learn more about UNICEF’s work in Ukraine here:

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