Blue Dot Reception Centres Open on Ukrainian Border

8th March 2022

PRESS RELEASE

 UNICEF establishes first Blue Dot reception centres on Ukrainian border to help women and children fleeing the conflict

 Irish corporate sector strongly supporting UNICEF reception centres for children and their families fleeing Ukraine

UNICEF spokespersons in Ukraine are available for interview 

Videos and photographs of the blue dot reception centres are available here

Executive Director, Peter Power,  is available for interview

DUBLIN – 9 March 2022 – UNICEF Ireland is experiencing an incredible response from the Irish corporate sector in support of UNICEF’s reception centres known as “Blue Dots”.

The UNHCR estimates that 1.7 million people have now left Ukraine and have travelled to 5 European countries on its western border. It is estimated that up to 90% of all those people are women and children.

Keeping children and women safe as they make these difficult and unexpected journeys is one of UNICEF’s highest priorities. Many are travelling on foot in freezing winter conditions with the little they can carry. Already made vulnerable by their experiences, displaced women and children face heightened risk of abuse, exploitation and gender-based violence. They urgently need practical and psychosocial support, together with access to specialist services. Blue Dot Hubs are an important way of delivering this vital support and protection.

Drawing on its experience in supporting children and families in the 2015-2016 refugee and migrant crisis, UNICEF and partners currently plan to provide 26 Blue Dot Hubs across Poland, Moldova, Romania, Belarus, Hungary and Slovakia. They will be sited at strategic points along migrant routes including border entry/exit points, registration sites and some urban centres. Each multi-agency hub has the capacity to support 3,000 to 5,000 people per day with a range of essential services.

UNICEF’s Executive Director, Cathy Russell, opened the first Blue Dots last week on the Romania border with Ukraine and UNICEF is urgently scaling up the rollout of these facilities. At each Blue Dot centre, UNICEF humanitarian specialists provide information and referral services to travelling families, safe spaces for mothers and children. Health and psychosocial first aid are also available, as are links to social workers to support separated and unaccompanied children providing best-interest assessments of children without caregivers. Additional services like water and nutrition are also provided based on an assessment of needs determination.

The primary concern of UNICEF’s humanitarian staff in these facilities is the health and well-being of children. Many children who have crossed the border display symptoms of severe trauma and psychological stress through the sudden departure from their homes and communities and having witnessed the violence and destruction caused by the conflict.

UNICEF has also deployed child protection teams along the border and in the Blue Dot reception centres to detect any children who may be unaccompanied or trafficked. All too often it is the case in emergencies of this nature that vulnerable children fall prey to unscrupulous people and their protection is of paramount concern to UNICEF.

UNICEF Ireland Executive Director, Peter Power, said: “Women and children crossing the border are exhausted from the journey. They have travelled hours in the cold and are traumatised by the fact that they have had to leave their homes, husbands, fathers and vulnerable family members unable to travel. This is a devastating experience for a child and UNICEF is deeply concerned for the welfare of the 1.7 million women and children who have left Ukraine.

“I am particularly impressed with the response of Ireland’s corporate sector, a number of whom have provided very significant funding for UNICEF to construct these Blue Dots along the Border.  I am very proud of the way the Irish corporate sector has stood up and expressed its solidarity with the people of Ukraine. UNICEF is a trusted partner of the Irish corporate sector for many years and the support from companies will be implemented in a transparent and accountable manager as expected of the United Nations agency”, concluded Mr Power.

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ENDS

Notes to Editor

Download photos, video and b-roll: here

Find out more about UNICEF’s work in Ukraine here: www.unicef.org/ukraineconflict

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:

Vivienne Parry, UNICEF Ireland, +353 87 284 4718, vivienne@unicef.ie