“Half of Ukrainians crossing the border are children”, Explained, Tuesday 4 May franceinfo, Ann Avril, Director General of UNICEF. According to him, “It’s almost every second a child, for two months, that crosses the borders of his country.” He called on neighboring countries to welcome these children “In the best possible situation” And “Continue the pace of solidarity”
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franceinfo: Dozens of people have fled to Zaporizia after being evacuated from Mariupol, a town still under the control of Ukrainian authorities, where they took refuge for weeks in the Azovstal factory. Children among them. How to take care of them?
Ann April: These children are very hurt. They need two things. They need to be kept in safety, sheltered from bombs and they need material security that they urgently need to provide. This is what we at UNICEF do with all the humanitarian agencies present at the scene. At the moment, it is possible to shelter them with human corridors. It is still uncertain. These are dozens of children. But most importantly, we can quickly overcome this trauma by protecting them by offering them access to care, food, water, and sanitation. These are the basics for all of us, but the ones that have been completely deprived for several weeks.
As of April, more than 7,700,000 Ukrainians had fled their homes and more than five and a half million had fled their country. How many children are there in all these people?
Nearly half of Ukraine’s children cross the border. That is about one child per second, who has crossed the borders of his country for two months. Leaving without knowing when they might return, often with their mother or grandparents. It is imperative that we, the neighboring countries, I am speaking of Europe in general, be able to welcome them in the best possible situation. At UNICEF, we have made arrangements to welcome these children in all neighboring countries. Above all, it is important to continue the momentum of solidarity that has begun. That is to say, to continue to support all that Ukrainian children can do. Count every gesture. A grant of 20 euros or 50 euros is important and is translated materially through activities for UNICEF and UNICEF partners.
Are there children who have fled their homes, their areas, without their parents?
The issue of unaccompanied children is very important. They are more at risk than other children and it is very important that they are referred to the authorities in the countries that will receive them so that they can be cared for in the reception structure dedicated to these children. They are particularly vulnerable to trafficking problems, which are quite common in such situations.
How to distribute receptions to these children?
Peace a priority for the children of Ukraine. These children do not deserve what happened. UNICEF will reduce the impact of the war, but we will not stop the war. We must hope that peace returns as soon as possible so that these children can rebuild a sustainable future in their country. UNICEF estimates that 2.2 million children in Ukraine are at risk, meaning those in need of humanitarian assistance, relief, basic care and those in immediate danger. There are hundreds, probably still in Mariupol, Odessa. These 2.2 million children must have access to emergency care. And that’s what we do. There are several thousand children who are welcomed in France. There is a little more every day and they integrate very well. We can rejoice that French society and the French state welcome them as naturally as possible.