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20 Dec, 2014 10:58

‘The highest price’: Over 1.7mn children affected by Ukrainian conflict, UN says

‘The highest price’: Over 1.7mn children affected by Ukrainian conflict, UN says

The conflict in eastern Ukraine is having a horrendous impact on as many as 1.7 million children, and hundreds of schools have been damaged or destroyed, according to the latest report by the UN Children’s Fund.

Of 1 million people displaced due to the ongoing violence, at least 130,000 are children. Also, tens of thousands of kids are in the conflict zone.

“It is essential that children are able to return to school and resume their education. Children continue to bear the brunt of this conflict, with schooling disrupted and access to basic services limited. Some are witness to violent fighting and shelling. We remind all parties to the conflict in Ukraine to ensure all children are protected from the ongoing violence,” said Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for Central & Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Many of those who flee the violence come to Russia, and the latest statistics from the International Organization for Migration have demonstrated that Russia’s government has spent over 6.5 billion rubles (over $100 million) since April on about 900,000 refugees.

A crater caused by shelling is seen near a school's soccer field in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, November 6, 2014.(Reuters / Maxim Zmeyev )

Also, almost 150 schools have been shut down because of the fighting in the Donetsk region, and about 50,000 kids haven’t been going to school since September, as they were in ruins or closed for safety reasons, UNICEF said in its report.

The situation doesn’t look brighter in the areas controlled by the Kiev government: 187 schools have been damaged or destroyed.

UNICEF stated that it needs $32.4 million to help 600,000 kids and their families: the weather in Ukraine is freezing, so the people urgently need warm clothes, shelter, hygiene supplies and medicine.