Children are bearing the brunt of the war in Ukraine as attacks on critical infrastructure continue.
UNICEF is providing emergency water and sanitation supplies and setting up safe spaces for children
At least 16,000 people are rushing to evacuate after a critical dam was attacked and destroyed in southern Ukraine early on June 6. The dam was a hydroelectric power plant on the Dnipro River in Nova Kakhovka, a port city on the Kakhovka reservoir's southern bank in Ukraine's Kherson Oblast.
Built during the Soviet era, the dam was designed to hold water equal to Utah's Great Salt Lake, according to Reuters. Major flooding is expected, leaving families homeless and in desperate need, along with electricity shortages and a possible lack of access to safe water.
UNICEF and partners are providing emergency assistance, including drinking water and critical water and sanitation supplies like water bottles, hygiene kits and children's kits. Humanitarian cash support is also being provided to families with children in districts affected by the flooding.
UNICEF Spokesperson James Elder said the flooding risks are catastrophic: "Children — who have been through so, so much — will be made homeless, and it threatens their access to clean water. This is yet another merciless attack on infrastructure that is vital to the well-being of everyday Ukrainians."
In times of crisis, UNICEF's pop-up Spilno centers offer children much-needed care and support
UNICEF has set up Spilno centers in the Kherson train station and other points of transit to aid newly displaced families with children. The centers offer children a safe space to play and feel a sense of normalcy while their parents struggle to cope with the sudden upheaval.
The centers are the latest in a network of more than 182 Spilno — Ukrainian for 'together'— spots UNICEF has established across the country to provide a much-needed respite for children growing up in a war zone. In times of crisis, it is children who suffer first and most.
"The rules of war are clear," said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. "Children and their essential services and infrastructure must be protected at all times."
Learn more about UNICEF’s Ukraine and Refugee Response 2023 Appeal, which contains details about UNICEF's strategy and plans to meet immediate and long-term needs of 9.4 million people, including 4 million children.
UNICEF continues to stay and deliver for the people of Ukraine — and remains committed to working with partners to support children and families through the war and beyond.
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