“Two years of violence, shelling and fear have left an indelible mark on thousands of children in eastern Ukraine,” Giovanna Barberis, a UNICEF representative in the eastern European nation, said in a press release.

Ukraine“As the conflict continues, we need to reach these children urgently to meet their physical as well as psychological needs,” she said.

More than 215,000 children are internally displaced from the conflict-affected areas. At least one out of every five schools has been damaged or destroyed.

Last year, said UNICEF, more than 20 children were killed and over 40 injured. Out of those, 28 casualties were caused by mines and unexploded ordnance. A polio outbreak was also confirmed in Ukraine 19 years after the country was declared polio free.

“As temperatures plummet, fuel shortages and high prices of coal are leaving children at risk of respiratory infections. Lack of access to health services and a shortage of medicines are threatening more disease outbreaks,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters here.

Damage to basic infrastructure has put the water supply at risk for some 2 million people across the front line, said the UN agency.

“UNICEF calls all parties to the conflict in Ukraine to ensure safe movement and unhindered humanitarian access to help children in need,” Barberis said.

UNICEF has been working with partners to provide children with basic services. To date, this includes providing psychosocial support to over 46,000 children and training almost 5,000 teachers and psychologists to identify signs of distress among children.

UNICEF has also reached 1.6 million people with safe water and over 164,000 children and adults with essential hygiene items.

Earlier this year, the UN agency called for an additional 54.3 million U.S. dollars to address the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable children in conflict-affected areas. Enditem

Source: Xinhua



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