The use of explosive weapons including airstrikes, missiles, and bombs near major towns and cities presents a grave and foreseeable risk of death and injury to civilians, including children and destruction to vital civilian infrastructure and essential services which will lead to a humanitarian crisis.
Attacks on major cities throughout the day have forced children and families to take cover in air raid shelters. Temperatures in the capital are dropping below freezing, and displaced children may face long nights and days exposed to brutal conditions.
The situation is unfolding rapidly, with rising numbers of civilian’s casualties. Some incidents of concern include: shelling in residential areas that injured at least 4 civilians and damaged homes and civilian infrastructure in the Donbas region in Ukraine; Human Rights Watch reported that a school in the region was hit last week , with one of the shells landing in the kindergarten’s area.
Rob Williams, War Child CEO said: "Armed conflict always affects children, be it through death, injury, the destruction of schools, hospitals and the inevitable humanitarian crisis created by destruction and chaos. The bombardment of civilian areas leaves children terrified and leaves a long term impact on their mental health.
We are deeply concerned for children and their families who may be displaced and in need of humanitarian support. Freezing conditions in Ukraine, have created the harshest conditions for those displaced and going without services due to the conflict .
War Child calls on all parties to the conflict to agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities and while hostilities are ongoing, all actors must fulfil their obligations under international humanitarian law, including by ensuring that civilians and civilian objects, especially schools and hospitals, are protected from attack. The use of explosive weapons in populated areas risks severe harm to civilians, especially children, and should be avoided at all costs."
Notes to the Editor:
About War Child UK
War Child UK is the only specialist charity for children affected by conflict. For more than two decades they’ve been driven by a single goal – for no child’s life to be torn apart by war. They aim to reach children as early as possible when conflict breaks out and stay to support them through their recovery – keeping them safe, helping them learn and cope with their experiences, and equipping them with skills for the future. They understand children’s needs, respect their rights, and put them at the centre of the solution and campaign for changes to policies and practices to support children in conflict, working with children and young people themselves to demand their rights. Together with their partners they deliver vital, life-saving work in 15 countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and Latin America. In 2019 alone, they reached over 100,000 children.
Charity number: 1071659