Children and their families are bearing the brunt of the escalating crisis in Ukraine
People across the country have fled their homes, with tens of thousands having fled to neighboring countries as the conflict increases. The U.N. estimates the wave of refugees could reach 5 million.
"We are deeply concerned about the escalating conflict across Ukraine and how it will affect children’s wellbeing. World Vision stands with the girls and boys and families impacted by the crisis through this tough and changing time,” said Michael Messenger, President and CEO of World Vision Canada. “At this time, more than 7.5 million children living in Ukraine are at grave risk and we are working with our partners to prepare a humanitarian response. Meanwhile, we hope and pray for a swift resolution."
(Photo by DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP via Getty Images)
What you need to know about Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis
Explore facts and frequently asked questions about the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and learn how to help children and their families.
Map shows the location of Ukraine, the second largest country in Europe. (Illustration courtesy Encyclopaedia Britannica)
- Where is Ukraine and what’s the history of this conflict?
Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe (just after Russia) with a landmass slightly smaller than the province of Alberta and a population of about 44 million. Ukraine declared independence on August 24, 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The country experienced years of political and economic instability and remains among the countries of Europe suffering the most severe health impacts from the coronavirus pandemic. Due to ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, nearly 3 million people already needed humanitarian aid before the February 2022 escalation.
- What’s the potential impact of the current crisis in Ukraine?
The sudden escalation of conflict is not only devastating the lives of Ukrainian children and families but could also create economic disruptions that impact child poverty far beyond Eastern Europe. This conflict threatens regional stability and humanitarian needs are steadily rising.
Inside Ukraine, 12 million people are at grave risk, while an additional 6 million people, mostly women and children, have fled the country and are seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. The UN estimates that more than 8 million people could flee Ukraine this year.
The conflict threatens to displace affected people multiple times, as its many impacts become increasingly felt in new communities every day, creating greater protection risks and exacerbating existing humanitarian needs.
- How are girls and boys being impacted by the Ukraine crisis?
Those threatened most by the crisis are the most vulnerable: children. More than 7.5 million children living in Ukraine have been put at grave risk. Displacement of families due to conflict forces children into situations of extreme vulnerability, resulting in mental and emotional stress, the loss of loved ones, interruption in education and the destruction of homes and family livelihoods.
“We are genuinely concerned about the growing humanitarian and psychological needs of the children and families most affected by the crisis in Ukraine,” said Eleanor Monbiot, World Vision’s regional leader for Middle East and Eastern Europe. “The situation is changing rapidly, but we are seeing in Ukraine, as we have seen in other conflicts around the world, that there is a growing psychological impact on children and families.”
- What’s World Vision doing to help families impacted by this crisis?
World Vision is working through established teams in Romania in several border areas providing support to people fleeing Ukraine including food, support for shelter, blankets, heaters, essential items for babies and toys for children, along with transportation support for people on the move. Child friendly spaces for children have been set up and more are being established to meet the psychosocial needs of children.
World Vision has established partnerships with local organizations working inside Ukraine and has provided food and items including mattresses, pillows, bed linens and cleaning supplies to a temporary shelter for displaced children and their families.
The situation on the ground is evolving rapidly, changing hour by hour. World Vision continues to adapt and adjust planned responses to meet the changing needs of those impacted by this crisis.
World Vision has worked in Eastern Europe for years, which positions us well to support those affected by this crisis. Last year we assisted 3.2 million people across the Middle East and Eastern Europe through emergency response programs.
- How can I help children and families made vulnerable by this crisis?
Pray for peace to be restored quickly and that children and families will be protected from harm.
Give to help provide care and support for children and families who have been forcibly displaced.
*Top image - Photo by DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP via Getty Images