Ukraine Conflict | The Impact of the Conflict on Children

April 20, 2022
Analysis Brief

Key Takeaways

Airstrikes, shelling, crossfire and the targeting of civilian areas continues to result in the death and injury of children. By April 15, 50 days since the conflict began, official figures showed that 153 children had lost their lives and a further 246 were injured, with the actual number likely to be far higher. Moreover, the number of testimonies regarding protection incidents affecting children in Ukraine is increasing (allegations of rape, kidnapping, hostage taking etc.). These incidents, coupled with the overall impact of the war and of the displacement, will inevitably have a heavy negative impact on children’s mental health.

Education was disrupted for 5.7 million children in Ukraine, as schools shut down at the start of the war. While there are efforts to restart education for children including through a national online education platform, difficulties persist. In conflict-affected areas, security concerns coupled with the lack of access to electricity and internet hamper the access to education services. The capacity of schools in both IDPs hosting regions and in countries hosting refugees can be limited in terms of teachers, infrastructure, materials. Language can be an additional challenge for refugees.

Many of the children in the conflict areas of Ukraine are facing life increasing poor living conditions characterised by damaged houses, the presence of unexploded ordinance and a lack of access to basic utilities such as clean water, electricity and heating. Millions more struggle from the impact of displacement, experiencing unfamiliar, often overcrowded conditions, having left friends and family behind.The conflict is having an increasing impact on the availability of health care, especially in conflictaffected areas, where many health facilities have been damaged or destroyed, and travelling to health facilities carries its own risk. Exacerbating factors such as overcrowding, a lack of WASH facilities and difficulties in obtaining enough food are impacting children of all ages, although especially concerning for the youngest and those with underlying health conditions.

A lack of food has been flagged in conflict affected areas, but also by some IDPs and refugees leaving children tired, hungry and scared.

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