Close to two-thirds of Ukrainian children displaced since Russian invasion’s start: UNICEF

AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu

Nearly two-thirds of the children in Ukraine have been displaced since Russia launched its invasion into its neighboring country, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Monday.

During a U.N. Security Council briefing on Ukraine, UNICEF Emergency Programmes Director Manuel Fontaine spoke about the toll that the conflict was taking on children, noting that the U.N. refugee agency had already confirmed the deaths of 142 children in addition to 229 others wounded.

“In just six weeks, nearly two-thirds of all Ukrainian children have been displaced. They have been forced to leave everything behind: their homes, their schools, and often, their family members,” Fontaine said.

“I have heard stories of the desperate steps parents are taking to get their children to safety and children saddened they are unable to get back to school,” he continued. “A social worker told me a story about parents who were forced to send their children out with a truck driver just to get them away from the line of fire.”

The UNICEF official noted that children face risks of trafficking, abuse, violence and exploitation by moving around Ukraine unaccompanied. 

He also painted a dire situation for the children and others in Ukraine who have remained in the country amid the ongoing war.

“Of the 3.2 million children estimated to have remained in their homes, nearly half may be at risk of not having enough food,” Fontaine said. “Attacks on water system infrastructure and power outages have left an estimated 1.4 million people without access to water in Ukraine. Another 4.6 million people have only limited access.”

The displacement comes as Russia’s invasion, already into its second month, has remained unsuccessful in capturing the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. 

Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of using chemical weapons in the besieged city of Mariupol. The Pentagon said on Monday it was aware of those reports but could immediately confirm whether they were true. 

Tags children children refugees russia Russian invasion of Ukraine ukraine UNICEF UNICEF

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