UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Ted Chaiban visits Ukraine to highlight the ongoing impact of war on children

UNICEF official calls for a sustained humanitarian response and child-centred recovery in Ukraine

27 November 2023

KYIV, 27 November 2023—UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Humanitarian Action and Supply Operations, Ted Chaiban, concluded today a one-week visit to Ukraine highlighting the urgent need for continued humanitarian response in conflict-affected areas, and for children to be at the forefront of recovery and rebuilding efforts. 

“Children in Ukraine have endured 21 months of violence, displacement, suffering and loss since the escalation of the war in February 2022. This war is robbing millions of children of their childhoods, depriving them of their rights to education, health, development, protection and safety,” said Chaiban.

Grave violations of children’s rights in Ukraine continue, with 1,781 children reportedly killed or injured since February 2022. Meanwhile, persistent fighting, and a widespread risk to mines and explosive ordnances, place children’s safety at high risk. Schools and hospitals continue to be damaged by strikes, disrupting access to safe learning and vital services, including healthcare and water infrastructure.

“Children and the civilian infrastructure that they rely on are not a target. They must be protected at all times. International humanitarian law, humanitarian principles, and human rights law must be respected.”

“Children and the civilian infrastructure that they rely on should not be a target. They must be protected at all times. International humanitarian law, humanitarian principles, and human rights law must be respected,” said Chaiban.

The stress of war is having a profound impact on the mental health and wellbeing of children in Ukraine. At present, an estimated 1.5 million children are at risk of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions.

Beyond the life-threatening violence, children in Ukraine are facing a fourth year of disrupted education. According to the Ministry of Education, more than 4,100 schools have been damaged or destroyed. The closure of schools and kindergartens due to attacks and the lack of safe bomb shelters is hindering children from accessing full-time face-to-face learning. Although children can continue learning online, they miss out on socialization with their peers and teachers which is crucial for their development.  During the visit, the UNICEF Deputy Executive Director advocated for blended learning where security conditions allow.

Chaiban visited frontline areas in the Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia regions, where UNICEF continues its humanitarian response. As winter deepens, UNICEF is providing life-saving support like warm winter clothes, blankets, safe water, and psychosocial support to children and families. UNICEF is also providing generators and supporting the repair of local distribution systems so water supply systems, hospitals and other critical services can continue functioning. Humanitarian cash transfers are helping vulnerable families, like those raising children with disabilities, to get by as they continue to face economic hardships because of the war.

“Children are not responsible for this war, yet they are paying the highest price for it.”

“Children and the civilian infrastructure that they rely on should not be a target. They must be protected at all times. International humanitarian law, humanitarian principles, and human rights law must be respected,” said Chaiban.

The stress of war is having a profound impact on the mental health and wellbeing of children in Ukraine. At present, an estimated 1.5 million children are at risk of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions.

Beyond the life-threatening violence, children in Ukraine are facing a fourth year of disrupted education. According to the Ministry of Education, more than 4,100 schools have been damaged or destroyed. The closure of schools and kindergartens due to attacks and the lack of safe bomb shelters is hindering children from accessing full-time face-to-face learning. Although children can continue learning online, they miss out on socialization with their peers and teachers which is crucial for their development.  During the visit, the UNICEF Deputy Executive Director advocated for blended learning where security conditions allow.

Chaiban visited frontline areas in the Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia regions, where UNICEF continues its humanitarian response. As winter deepens, UNICEF is providing life-saving support like warm winter clothes, blankets, safe water, and psychosocial support to children and families. UNICEF is also providing generators and supporting the repair of local distribution systems so water supply systems, hospitals and other critical services can continue functioning. Humanitarian cash transfers are helping vulnerable families, like those raising children with disabilities, to get by as they continue to face economic hardships because of the war.

Media contacts

Damian Rance
Chief Advocacy and Communications
UNICEF Ukraine
Georgina Diallo
UNICEF Europe and Central Asia
Tel: +41 76 320 68 14

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

For more information about UNICEF and its work in Ukraine visit: www.unicef.org/ukraine

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