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Humanitarian Action for Children 2022 - Ukraine and Refugee Outflow

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The war in Ukraine has devastatingly impacted the wellbeing of children and families.
Prolonged exposure to distress impacts children’s immediate and long-term health and development. Women and children risk gender-based violence when sheltering, moving and seeking asylum.

In Ukraine, 7.1 million people are internally displaced, including up to 2.8 million children. Hospitals, water facilities, schools and kindergartens have been destroyed.
Access to WASH, education, health, livelihoods and social services support is interrupted.

Over 4.5 million refugees, 90 per cent women and children, have fled to neighbouring countries and beyond, seeking protection and requiring critical assistance.

Children in Ukraine and living as refugees urgently require protection, including for unaccompanied and separated children, psychosocial services and prevention of trafficking, sexual and labour exploitation and abuse, along with critical health, nutrition, education, WASH services and livelihoods and social support.

UNICEF is appealing for US$ 948.9 million to provide multi-sectoral life-saving support for children and their families, including US$ 624.2 million to respond to critical needs within Ukraine (Pillar 1) and US$ 324.7 million for the refugee response (Pillar 2).


Pillar 1: Ukraine

The war in Ukraine has uprooted children and families from their homes, creating a child protection and child’s rights emergency. Over 11 million people have fled their homes8 ; nearly a quarter of the total population of Ukraine. The majority, over 7.1 million people, have been internally displaced, of which an estimated 2.8 million are children.

Displacement has placed women and children at increased risk of gender-based violence (GBV), abuse, psychological trauma, trafficking, and family separation. The most vulnerable children, including those living outside their families, the nearly 91,000 children, half with disabilities, living in residential institutions for children without parental care or boarding schools, unaccompanied and separated children (UASC), and children with disabilities, have been particularly impacted. To date, 121 children have been killed and over 170 injured.9 Civilian infrastructure and basic services continue to be attacked. Nearly 100 health facilities and 870 educational facilities have been damaged or destroyed, interrupting access to critical medical supplies and services and leaving the majority of children in Ukraine without access to in-person education services.10 Water supply services and infrastructure, particularly in eastern Ukraine, have been damaged leaving over a million households without access to water.

Hygiene and dignity items are in limited supply, putting displaced families at increased health risk. With approximately 80,000 women expected to give birth in the coming three months, access to essential health care services is becoming an urgent need.11 Further outbreaks of measles and polio are possible, particularly given decreasing childhood immunization rates, the high number of people on the move and overcrowding in temporary shelters. Over 2 million children under five years of age and pregnant and breastfeeding women are in need of life-saving nutrition services inside Ukraine as the nutritional status of children is expected to decline as family’s resources are stretched.12 The operating environment in Ukraine has become extremely complex. The public sector workforce, including teachers, pediatricians, social workers and engineers, has been severely disrupted and displaced. The banking system has been impacted, limiting fund transfers to partners and staff salaries. Access constraints, active fighting, air strikes and rapidly changing front lines are posing significant challenges to UNICEF and partners in delivering critical lifesaving services to vulnerable children and families. Several cities are in dire need of humanitarian assistance and protection with civilians trapped inside for several weeks, experiencing constant shelling, and prolonged disruption of essential services such as access to food, medicine, heating, water, and mobile connections. As the war continues, humanitarian needs continue to worsen, taking a heavy toll on the wellbeing of Ukrainians.