In 365 days of war in Ukraine (LIVE UPDATES), children have experienced a year of “horror”: 1.5 million are at risk of depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental health problems ; those living in poverty doubled from 43% to 82%; 5 million had to stop education. Unicef raised the alarm, recalling that “there is not a single aspect of children’s lives on which the conflict has not had an impact, with children killed, injured, forced to abandon their homes, to lose a basic education and to be denied the benefits of a safe and secure environment”. “Children in Ukraine have lived through a year of horror – says Catherine Russell, Director General of Unicef. “Millions of children go to sleep in the cold, scared, and wake up hoping that this brutal conflict is over. Children have been killed and injured and many have lost their parents, brothers, sisters, homes, schools and playgrounds. No child should ever go through this kind of suffering.”
“Prioritizing children’s mental and psychosocial health”
Children’s and families’ access to basic services has been devastated. There are reports – underlines Unicef again – of over a thousand health facilities damaged or destroyed by bombing or airstrikes; these attacks killed and seriously injured patients, including children, and medical personnel and restricted access to treatment. Thousands of children fleeing conflict across the country have not received vital vaccines to protect them from polio, measles, diphtheria and other life-threatening diseases. “Children need this war to end, and lasting peace to get their childhood back, get back to normal and start healing and recovering,” Russell added. of children. This should include age-appropriate actions to provide nurturing care, build resilience and, especially for older children and adolescents, give them an opportunity to voice their concerns.” Unicef continues to call for “safe, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access, an end to attacks on children and the infrastructure they rely on, including schools, hospitals and water and sanitation systems; to avoid the use of schools in this conflict and to stop the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, directly responsible for the killing and maiming of hundreds of children”. Above all, Unicef continues to call for “an end to hostilities”.