"Before he got hit, Sasha was like a proper child. Now he seems like a grown up. He can tell from the sounds what type of weapon is firing."
- 12-year-old Sasha's guardian talking about the changes in him since he was shot in the ankle by a stray bullet.
After nearly five years of conflict in eastern Ukraine, 3.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance – 60 per cent of them are women and children. Approximately 1.6 million people have been forced from their homes and tens of thousands of civilians have been killed or wounded.
The situation is particularly grave for girls and boys living in areas with the fiercest fighting: Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts – within 15 kilometres of the ‘contact line’ – a line that divides government- from non-government-controlled areas.
Children face the immediate threats posed by the conflict, and the long-term impact of lost education and trauma.
Children living in these areas face grave threats from shelling, landmines and unexploded ordnance. Their lives are also threatened by destruction of vital civilian infrastructure – health centres, schools and water supplies – as a result of the fighting. Millions of people depend on water infrastructure that is in the line of fire.