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UNICEF highlights 40 per cent rise in children killed this year during Ukraine war
Photo Courtesy: UNICEF/Aleksey Filippov

UNICEF highlights 40 per cent rise in children killed this year during Ukraine war

| @indiablooms | 27 Apr 2024, 09:07 am

As deadly attacks in Ukraine continue, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Friday that the number of children killed so far this year has increased by nearly 40 per cent compared to 2023.

Attacks that occurred between January and March left 25 children dead, including a two-month-old, said the agency. During the first three weeks of April, nine children lost their lives during attacks.

UNICEF's Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Regina De Dominicis, said during a visit to the war-torn country that children and families are being forced to endure more loss and destruction as the deadly attacks continue.

“Every attack sets back recovery and rebuilding efforts, prolonging the deterioration in children’s quality of life.

‘Nowhere is safe’

"I am troubled to see that attacks across the country continue, destroying schools, health facilities and residential buildings. Nowhere is safe for children,” she said.

Official UN data reveals that about 600 children have lost their lives and more than 1,350 have been injured in attacks since the war in Ukraine escalated in 2022. The true number of children’s lives lost is likely to be considerably higher.

The attacks have also destroyed infrastructure children in Ukraine rely on. Within the first three months of the year, thousands of homes, 36 health facilities and 140 educational facilities have been either damaged or destroyed.

Power and water targeted

Additionally, attacks have affected power and water supplies which have disrupted critical services, putting children’s lives and wellbeing at a heightened risk. UNICEF, along with partners, are rebuilding the power and water supplies destroyed in the attacks.

Access to schooling has also been disrupted for four years in a row, due to the combined impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Almost half of all children enrolled are missing out on classroom learning, while nearly one million Ukrainian children cannot access in-person sessions due to insecurity.

UNICEF’s efforts

As attacks continue, UNICEF is working across Ukraine to rehabilitate schools and shelters and provide at-home learning kits and online support. In 2023, the agency reached 103 million youngsters with formal and non-formal learning. 

Also in 2023, UNICEF administered mental health and psychosocial support through safe spaces, protection and support hubs, reaching 2.5 million children and caregivers.

The agency is requiring an additional $250 million to further support children and families in Ukraine in frontline areas and for humanitarian and recovery programmes in 2024.

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