The UN children's agency reports that, after six weeks of war, almost three million children in Ukraine need humanitarian assistance. So far the UN has verified the deaths of 142 children in the conflict.
"Six weeks on and the war continues to be a nightmare for Ukraine's children - both for those who have fled and for those who remain inside the country. Six weeks on and now, nearly 3 million children in Ukraine need humanitarian assistance," UNICEF Emergency Programs Director Manuel Fontaine said Tuesday, according to a statement issued by the UN agency.
"More than 4.5 million people, over 90 percent of whom are women and children, have crossed into neighbouring countries as refugees and IOM estimates that 7.1 million people are now internally displaced and more than 50 per cent of displaced households include children," he added.
"Children are being killed and injured because of the violence around them. The UN has so far verified the deaths of 142 children, with nearly 230 injured. The true figures are most certainly much higher given the scale of attacks. And they have been hurt in the very places where they should be safest - their homes, emergency shelters, even hospitals."
'Devastating' signs of rights violated
"Attacks using explosive weapons continue in populated urban areas. Homes, schools, hospitals, water systems, power plants, and places where civilians seek shelter continue to come under attack. According to the WHO, there have been more than 100 attacks impacting health care facilities," Fontaine said. "Families are risking their lives to escape. They should not have to do this."
"The reports of grave violations and other serious rights violations against children are devastating. Children should never be the victims of conflict and must be protected by all parties in accordance with applicable international law," Fontaine said.
'Children in urgent need of a peaceful solution'
"UNICEF's response is evolving to meet the needs of children wherever they may be," Fontaine said. He added that: "UNICEF's US$276 million appeal for urgent programs inside Ukraine and US$73.1 million for critical programs in neighbouring countries are being revised significantly upwards to reflect the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation.
"But humanitarian partners can only do so much. Ultimately, the children of Ukraine urgently need and deserve a peaceful resolution," Fontaine said.