UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell's remarks at the Joint Launch of the Humanitarian Flash Appeal and Regional Refugee Response Plan, Ukraine
NEW YORK, 1 March 2022 - "The situation facing children and families caught up in the escalating conflict in Ukraine grows worse by the minute.
"The fighting is moving closer to civilian populations – closer to children’s homes and schools, to hospitals and orphanages.
"Damage to infrastructure has left hundreds of thousands of people without safe water and electricity. Explosive weapons and remnants of war in populated areas are real and present dangers.
"At least 13 children have been killed, according to data verified by OHCHR, and we expect that number to increase as fighting rages on. Many children have been wounded. And many more children are being profoundly traumatized by the violence all around them. Hundreds of thousands are out of school. And all 7.5 million children in Ukraine are at heightened risk.
"UNICEF and our partners are working 24 hours a day to meet rapidly escalating humanitarian needs, which include emergency medical services, critical medicines, health supplies and equipment, safe water for drinking and hygiene, and shelter and protection for those displaced from their homes.
"At present, we have 140 people working for UNICEF in Ukraine, and we are sending more to meet needs in-country. Across the east, nine UNICEF-supported child protection mobile teams are reaching children wherever they can with psychosocial care, mental health support, and protection services.
"But the operating environment in Ukraine is extremely complex. Access constraints and rapidly changing front lines make it much more difficult to deliver critical supplies and services.
"The refugee crisis is growing exponentially, increasing humanitarian needs. Half of the people on the move are children. UNICEF is working closely with UNHCR to reach them with protection and assistance in receiving countries.
"Children and families caught up in this conflict need all the help we can give them -- and they need it now. UNICEF is appealing for $276 million for children inside Ukraine as part of OCHA’s Flash Appeal and requires an additional $73 million for the Regional Refugee Response Plan in neighbouring countries.
"We rely on the generosity and support of the global community to help UNICEF and our partners reach children and families in Ukraine, whose lives and futures hang in the balance. We cannot rest until we reach every child affected by this conflict."