Russia-Ukraine war: Nearly 4.8 million Ukrainian children displaced, 142 killed, claims UNICEF
UNICEF has claimed that 4.8 million out of 7.5 million Ukraine children have been displaced and 142 youngsters have lost their lives as a consequence to the Russian-Ukraine war that started on February 24.
The UN children’s agency further believes that the number of children leaving their homes could be higher than their estimate.
Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s emergency programs director who recently returned from Ukraine, said that he has never seen such humanitarian tragedy on this scale in such a short time.
“They have been forced to leave everything behind — their homes, their schools and, often, their family members,” he told the UN Security Council.
“I have heard stories of the desperate steps parents are taking to get their children to safety, and children saddened that they are unable to get back to school,” he was quoted as saying.
"As of yesterday, OHCHR has verified 142 children killed and 229 children injured. We know these numbers are likely much higher —and many of them were caused by crossfire or the use of explosive weapons in populated areas,” he added.
According to AP news agency, Ukraine’s UN ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya has claimed that Russia has taken more than 121,000 children, both orphans and those with parents, out of Ukraine and planning to get them adopted in Russia.
He claimed that most of the children were removed from the besieged southern port city of Mariupol and taken to eastern Donetsk and then to the Russian city of Taganrog.
UNICEF’s Fontaine claimed that he, too, has heard similar reports, but added that “we don’t have yet the access that we need to have to be able to look and verify and see if we can assist.”
He said that of Ukraine’s displaced children, 2.8 million are in Ukraine and 2 million more are in other countries.
At the same time, he said, nearly half the estimated 3.2 million children still in their homes in Ukraine “may be at risk of not having enough food,” with those in besieged cities like Mariupol facing the most dire situation.