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Children left vulnerable after heavy fighting in Ukraine

AVDIIVKA, Ukraine, 3 February 2017 –  Following intense fighting over the last several days around the town of Avdiivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine, more than 17,000 people – including 2,500 children – are facing freezing weather without any heating, electricity or water.

Many are choosing to evacuate the town for safer areas.

© UNICEF/UN052430/Filippov

Victoria, 42, is sending her nine-year-old daughter Alina to the boarding house away from the shelling. Alina is going to Sviatohirsk, a town up north in the Donetsk region some 140 km away from Avdiivka, unaccompanied. Her mother can’t afford to leave and is afraid their house might get looted if left unattended.

© UNICEF/UN052426/Filippov

Sisters Vika and Yulia are waiting in the bus to be evacuated from Avdiivka to a boarding house together with their grandmother. "We are together, we are not scared and we took the books, we will be studying there," says 10-year-old Vika while drawing birds and trees in her notebook.

Their grandmother, 62-year-old Larissa, hopes she and the girls will be able to come back home soon. "We spent last night by candlelight, the girls had almost no sleep, scared of shelling. Our yard got hit yesterday by a shell but thanks God it didn’t explode," she says.

© UNICEF/UN052428/Filippov

One-and-a-half-year-old Dasha came to the emergency heated shelter in Avdiivka with her mother. The family decided to stay in Avdiivka despite the harsh conditions.

© UNICEF/UN052427/Filippov

At the emergency heated shelter in freezing cold Avdiivka, children can warm up and get a hot meal.

>> Learn more about the humanitarian needs of children in Ukraine



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