According to UNICEF, the physical and mental health of Ukrainian children is “gravely at risk” as the war continues.
UNICEF warned on Wednesday that Russian attacks on critical infrastructure in Ukraine put the physical and mental health of “almost every child” in the country at “great risk”.
As the war approaches its ten-month mark, temperatures continue to drop, residents are left without stable access to electricity, heat and water, and nearly seven million children in Ukraine are not only exposed to extreme cold, but also unable to access education. and health care, UNICEF said in a statement.
“Millions of children face a bleak winter, huddled in the cold and dark, with little idea of how or when they’ll find respite,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.
“Beyond the immediate threats posed by freezing conditions, children also lose the ability to learn or connect with friends and family, putting both their physical and mental health at great risk.”
Damaged sanitation facilities may not be able to provide critical services, while faulty water systems “already increase the risks of pneumonia, seasonal flu, waterborne diseases and Covid-19,” according to UNICEF.
In addition, “the dark winter will worsen the psychological condition of children, facing an already looming mental health crisis,” UNICEF said, with 1.5 million children suffering from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. and other mental states.
“Severe winters, combined with loss of income and the energy and socio-economic crisis caused by war, are devastating to the well-being of children and families,” UNICEF said. He added that the situation was “particularly dire” for the 6.5 million people, including 1.2 million children, currently displaced within Ukraine.
Moscow has unleashed a wave of attacks in recent months that have destroyed nearly 40% of Ukraine’s electricity production, “further exposing families to harsh winter conditions, affecting livelihoods and increasing the likelihood of new massive population displacements,” UNICEF said.
“The rules of war are clear: Children and the essential civilian infrastructure on which they depend for survival must be protected,” Russell said.