UNICEF Ireland launches emergency Ukraine appeal as escalating conflict poses immediate and growing threat to children

28th February 2022

PRESS RELEASE

UNICEF Ireland launches emergency Ukraine appeal as escalating conflict poses immediate and growing threat to children

As hundreds of thousands of people flee their homes, UNICEF is working across Ukraine to scale up life-saving programmes for children

UNICEF spokespeople are available for interview including personnel on the ground in the region 

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DUBLIN, 28 February 2022 – UNICEF Ireland has launched an urgent emergency fundraising appeal for children in Ukraine, warning that the escalating conflict poses an immediate and growing threat to the country’s 7.5 million children. In recent days, hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes and UNICEF is rapidly scaling up efforts to respond to the multiplying humanitarian needs across the country.

Launching the emergency appeal in Ireland, UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power said, “We have had a strong presence in Ukraine for 25 years and our teams on the ground are seeing a dramatic increase in humanitarian needs across the country and warning about the devastating impact the conflict is having on children. What we are seeing is utterly terrifying for children. Children are traumatised, they are in shock, and they desperate for safety. Hundreds of thousands are on the move and many families are becoming separated. Most of those on the move are women and children. Our teams are literally seeing humanitarian needs in Ukraine multiplying and spreading by the hour. That is why we are making this urgent appeal for support from the Irish public. UNICEF is rapidly trying to scale up our operations in Ukraine and neighbouring countries, but we need more resources”.

As conflict has escalated in recent days, damage to civilian infrastructure has left hundreds of thousands of people without safe water, electricity or water, and Mr Power said UNICEF is warning that children will be among the worst affected. “We are deeply concerned. We know that children are the most vulnerable and that armed conflicts of this scale can only result in child deaths. This will quickly descend into a children’s crisis and we are calling for an immediate cease-fire and we remind all parties of their international obligations to protect children from harm, and to ensure that humanitarian actors can safely and quickly reach children in need. Already hundreds of children and families have seen their homes destroyed.”

UNICEF has humanitarian specialists working across a number of offices in Ukraine, and UNICEF has said its teams are committed to staying and delivering life-saving assistance for children. “We are working day and night to scale-up our operations. We are surging more staff into the country and working to get safe and unimpeded access to all areas affected by conflict. Many children in Ukraine are already traumatised by years of conflict, but this is on a different scale. We are very fearful for what the future might bring and we must do everything we can to support children now. Our teams are trucking safe water to conflict-affected areas; prepositioning health, hygiene and emergency education supplies as close as possible to communities near the line of contact; and working with municipalities to ensure there is immediate help for children and families in need. Irish people have always been incredibly supportive of UNICEF’s emergency response efforts, and we would be deeply grateful for any support they could provide the children of Ukraine at this time,” said Mr Power.

UNICEF is seeking initial funding support to provide access to basic services including water and sanitation, immunisation and health care, schooling and learning, psychosocial support, and emergency cash assistance for up to 7.5 million children.

More information on UNICEF’s emergency Ukraine appeal can be found at www.unicef.ie

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ENDS

Notes to Editor

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.ie

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For more information, please contact:

Danny Smits, UNICEF Ireland, +353 87 1308070, danny@unicef.ie