Posted by News Express | 16 March 2022 | 296 times
By CECILIA OLOGUNAGBA
UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says almost one child per second in Ukraine is becoming a refugee of the war.
This is as the total number of people who have now fled the country since the Russian invasion began surpasses three million.
“Every day, over the past 20 days, in Ukraine more than 70,000 children have become refugees. That’s every minute, 55 children fleeing the country,” James Elder, spokesperson for UNICEF said on Tuesday.
Highlighting that nine in 10 of those fleeing unrelenting violence in Ukraine are women and children, Elder warned that youngsters are prey to traffickers, as they arrive in unfamiliar new surroundings.
“To give a sense of the border that I used to visit – the main border, Medyka, Poland to Ukraine – it is scores of people standing around buses and minivans calling out names of capital cities – or at least it was a week ago – people getting onto those.
“The vast, vast majority of course are people with wonderful intentions and great generosity, but there is no doubt given what we understand of trafficking in Europe, that that remains a very, very grave issue,” he said.
The development follows a warning from the UN Secretary-General, who on Monday, said that Russia’s military offensive against civilians was “reaching terrifying proportions”.
In Mariupol, humanitarians warned that the situation in the port city has deteriorated further, after further heavy Russian bombardment.
Hundreds of thousands of people are being “suffocated” by a lack of supplies and are unable to flee the city, besieged by Russian forces.
Across the country, UN humanitarians are delivering lifesaving aid where they have access. But UNICEF’s Elder reported “indiscriminate attacks time and again on critical infrastructure, particularly water has been targeted.
“Anecdotally, from those colleagues there, we know of families who are undoing all heaters to take water coolant out as a last resort, as something to drink.” (NAN)
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