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Ukraine: According to UNICEF, more than half of the children have been displaced

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More than half of children in Ukraine have had to leave their homes to flee insecurity and fighting sparked by the invasion of the Russian army on February 24, Unicef ​​said on Thursday. It is the fastest large-scale displacement of children since the Second World War, according to the director of the institution.

One in two Ukrainian children had to leave the country. “A month of war in Ukraine has displaced 4.3 million children, more than half of the country’s estimated child population of 7.5 million,” the UN Children’s Fund said. in a press release.

Some 1.8 million children have thus crossed the border to take refuge in neighboring countries and 2.5 million are displaced within Ukraine. “The war has caused one of the fastest large-scale displacements of children since the Second World War,” said UNICEF chief executive Catherine Russell.

81 children killed in Ukraine and 108 injured

“It’s a sad reality that risks having lasting consequences for generations to come. Children’s safety, well-being and access to essential services are threatened by horrific and uninterrupted violence,” he said. -she adds. At least 81 children have been killed in Ukraine and 108 injured, according to the latest tally released Wednesday by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which stresses that the actual tolls are probably much higher.

The war has also had devastating consequences on civilian infrastructure and access to basic services. Thus, 1.4 million people do not have access to drinking water.

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A “devastation” for children

More than 450,000 children aged 6 to 23 months need additional food support, says UNICEF. The UN agency has already observed a reduction in vaccination coverage for routine and childhood vaccinations, including measles and poliomyelitis, and fears that this will quickly lead to epidemics, especially in crowded places where people take refuge for escape the violence.

“In just a few weeks, the war has caused such devastation for the children of Ukraine,” observed Catherine Russell. “Children urgently need peace and protection. They need their rights. Unicef ​​continues to call for an immediate ceasefire and the protection of children. Critical infrastructure that children depend on, including hospitals, schools and buildings housing civilians should never be attacked,” she said.

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Delivery of medical supplies to 49 Ukrainian hospitals

Unicef ​​and its partners are working to bring humanitarian aid to children in Ukraine and neighboring countries. In Ukraine, the institution has delivered medical supplies to 49 hospitals in nine regions, including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Lviv, and continues to distribute water and hygiene items in besieged communities.

In the coming weeks, the organization aims to begin delivering cash transfers to the most vulnerable families and setting up child-friendly spaces in key locations across the country. But “despite intensive efforts to ensure safe, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access, significant challenges remain in the worst affected areas of the country,” she notes.

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