Conflict in Ukraine poses immediate threat to children
UNICEF is working to scale up life-saving support for children and their families.
The war in Ukraine poses an immediate and growing threat to the lives and well-being of the country’s 7.5 million children. Humanitarian needs are multiplying – and spreading by the hour. Children are terrified, in shock, and desperate for safety. Hundreds of thousands of people are on the move, most of them women and children. Many families are becoming separated from their loved ones.
The past eight years of conflict have inflicted profound and lasting damage to children on both sides of the line of contact. In eastern Ukraine, where UNICEF and partners have worked for the past eight years, thousands have been without safe water due to damage to infrastructure. UNICEF is now scaling up humanitarian delivery in the east and expanding across the country as needed.
How is UNICEF helping children and families in Ukraine?
UNICEF is working to scale up life-saving programmes for children. This includes:
- Ramping up efforts to meet critical and escalating needs for safe water, healthcare, education and protection.
- Prepositioning health, hygiene and emergency education supplies as close as possible to communities near the line of contact.
- Working with municipalities to ensure that there is immediate help for children and families in need.
- Supporting mobile teams providing psychosocial care to children traumatized by the chronic insecurity. Currently, UNICEF has 10 mobile teams operating in the east. These child protection case management mobile teams respond to violence, abuse, separation from family, gender-based violence, mental health and and disability cases.
- Continuing emergency response efforts to address the COVID-19 outbreak, including by working with municipalities to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates, and by strengthening awareness raising and capacity building efforts.
On 28 February 2022, UNICEF in Bulgaria launched an emergency fundraising campaign to provide urgent humanitarian aid to children and families in Ukraine. We have managed to raise over BGN 460,000 with the help of donors and partners to support the affected children and families. Since the conflict began to escalate, UNICEF has provided some 1 300 tonnes of life-saving medical consumables, clean water, sanitary materials, clothes, blankets, educational sets and other vital necessities.
What is UNICEF doing to help refugee children and families coming to Bulgaria
Over 4.5 million people, more than 90% of whom are women and children, were forced to flee from Ukraine. Their number is growing on a daily basis. More than two million children have crossed the borders to seek safety. Each of them needs protection, education, safety, and support.
Unaccompanied minors and children separated from their families who arrive from Ukraine are especially vulnerable. UNICEF continues to warn against the increased risk of trafficking and exploitation.
To reduce the risks facing children and families and to provide the support they need, UNICEF and UNHCR, working with partners, are setting up Blue Dot Child and Family Support Hubs in host countries, including Bulgaria.
Blue Dot hubs are safe spaces providing information, psychosocial support, legal counselling and other services to families on the move at a single location. The hubs aim to have unaccompanied and separated children identified and to guarantee their protection against exploitation, as well as to function as points of access to basic services and other kinds of support to vulnerable children and families.
Up to five child and family support hubs will be opened in Bulgaria soon. The first three hubs will open doors in Sofia, Ruse, and Durankulak very soon. Psychologists, social workers and lawyers will work at the locations and provide support to refugees from Ukraine along several lines:
- Psychosocial support
- Provision of information, counselling and assistance in getting additional support and access to services (healthcare, education, social assistance, accommodation, etc.)
- Legal aid and counselling
- Identification of unaccompanied minors and referral to the protection and services system for children at risk
- Play and rest space for children
Your donation supports the UNICEF efforts to ensure that all children are protected and safe at each step of their journey and that vulnerable children and families receive the support they need.
How is UNICEF helping children and families in Ukraine?
How to donate:
- Online with a bank card at https://dari.unicef.bg/ukrainа
- By bank transfer to the account of UNICEF Bulgaria with IBAN: BG34RZBB91551065034919, grounds: "UKRAINA"
- With a one-off donation worth BGN 5 by sending an SMS with the text "UKRAINA" to 1021
What’s happening in Ukraine?
The direct and indirect effects of the protracted conflict in eastern Ukraine continue to significantly impact the lives of children and young people, leaving families on both sides of the contact line in urgent need of sustained humanitarian assistance. Now, the military operation in Ukraine poses an immediate and growing threat to the lives and well-being of the country’s 7.5 million children.
Critical water, sanitation, electrical and heating facilities, and school infrastructure have been damaged and are dilapidated, while access to learning is challenged. As a result, children's access to safe shelter, water, and schooling are threatened.
Children and their families also need systematic protection services to address gender-based violence, violence against children and to access psychosocial care. Mine risk education and mine victim assistance are critical as explosive ordnance contamination remains a major source of threat to life, safety and stability.
UNICEF calls for an immediate cease-fire and reminds all parties of their international obligations to protect children from harm, and to ensure that humanitarian actors can safely and quickly reach children in need.