Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

War in Ukraine: A Child Becomes a Refugee Every Second, Says UNICEF

Every day for the last 20 days, more than 75,000 children have become refugees in Ukraine, that is, every minute, 55 children flee the country, said James Elder, UNICEF spokesman
March 16, 2022
child refugee
A nine-year-old boy suffering from cancer arrives at a children's hospital in Lviv during the conflict in Ukraine. Photo Credit- UNICEF/Viktor Moskaliuk

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion on 24 February, dozens of children have died in Ukraine and about 1.5 million children are part of the exodus from the country–at a rate of almost one child for every second.

“Every day for the last 20 days in Ukraine more than 75,000 children have become refugees. That is, every minute, 55 children flee the country,” said James Elder, spokesman for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

“This crisis is unprecedented in the speed and scale of refugee flows since the Second World War, and we do not yet see any signs of slowing down,” said James Elder.

Poland is by far the country that hosts the most refugees, with around 1.8 million people seeking refuge in the country since February 24, according to a statement shared by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday.

More than 4,53,000 people have moved to Romania, about 3,37,000 to Moldova, some 2,63,000 to Hungary and almost 2,13,000 to Slovakia. In addition, more than 1,42,000 people have fled to Russia and more than 1,475 to Belarus, according to the UNHCR figures. Many people continue their journey elsewhere in Europe, to meet up with family or friends.

According to the UNHCR, almost 90 percent of the refugees are women and children.

“Like all children driven from their homes by war and conflict, Ukrainian children arriving in neighbouring countries are at significant risk of family separation, violence, sexual exploitation and human trafficking,” said James Elder.