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UN Warns of Catastrophic Impact of Ukraine War on Women and Children

While the war has forced millions of women and girls flee bombs and shelling in the middle of the night, among those who remained, many have been victimised by gang rapes, murders and other crimes

Impact of War in Ukraine on Women and Children
Photo Credit: Virginijus Sinkevičius/ Twitter

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on Monday announced a new support program aimed at meeting the needs of millions of people in Ukraine over the next two years.

UNDP is launching a comprehensive program to support the Ukrainian government as well as UN-led humanitarian and crisis action to prevent development progress from being radically reversed.

UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous, returning on Sunday evening from Moldova where tens of thousands of Ukrainians have taken refuge, told Board members that she had seen “busloads of women and children, tired and frightened to arrive at the border crossing point of Palanca.

UN Women is working with partners to ensure that “the gendered nature of this crisis is addressed with a gender-responsive response”, she stressed. “This includes providing protection-focused services and responding to increased trauma and psychosocial support needs.”

“Young women leaving their homes at night, separated families, constant fear of the future. This trauma risks destroying a generation,” warned Bahous.

“The war in Ukraine continues to inflict immense human suffering…with nine out of 10 people at risk of falling into poverty,” UNDP chief Achim Steiner added.

The head of UN Women also informed the Security Council of the allegations of rape and sexual violence. “These allegations must be independently investigated to ensure justice and accountability,” she said.

As of 10 April, the UN has verified 142 children killed and 229 children injured, but “we know these numbers are likely much higher”.  Hundreds of schools and educational facilities have also been attacked or used for military purposes.

Stressing that nearly two-thirds of all Ukrainian children have been displaced since the conflict began, he said UNICEF and its partners are doing everything possible, both inside and outside Ukraine — including carefully monitoring the health, rights and dignity of women and girls as the risk of exploitation and abuse grows.

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