Olga Srednyakova (R), 51, a single mother of the eight children, hugs the youngest daughter Vera, 8, as other ones harvest mushrooms at an abandoned ground of their destroyed school in Konstantinovka in the Donetsk region on October 13, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

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As the war between Russia and Ukraine continues to escalate, children in both countries have been most affected by its economic fallout, said UNICEF regional director for Europe and Central Asia, Afshan Khan, Al Jazeera reported.

According to a report of the United Nations children's agency, the study of 22 countries showcased how the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing crisis pushed approximately four million children into poverty across Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

"Children are bearing the heaviest burden of the economic crisis caused by the war in Ukraine," UNICEF said.

The report further noted that due to the ongoing economic slump an additional 2.8 million children now living in households below the poverty line.

Moreover, Romania has a further 110,000 children living in poverty, Al Jazeera reported.

"Children all over the region are being swept up in this war's terrible wake," said UNICEF regional director for Europe and Central Asia, Afshan Khan.

This could well translate into an additional 4,500 children dying before their first birthdays, and an additional 117,000 children dropping out of school this year alone, Al jazeera reported quoting UNICEF.

Another report of UNICEF which was released recently stated that nearly 1,000 boys and girls have been killed or injured in the war in Ukraine.

"At least 972 children in Ukraine have been killed or injured by violence since the war escalated nearly six months ago, an average of over five children killed or injured each day," UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said in a statement.

The Russia-Ukraine war began nearly six months ago. The full scope of the Ukrainian refugee crisis is difficult to quantify and far exceeds any other refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

Meanwhile, almost every child in Ukraine has been exposed to deeply distressing events. Those fleeing violence are at significant risk of family separation, abuse, sexual exploitation, further attacks, and trafficking.

The escalating hostilities have devastated the education system. UNICEF estimates that 1 in 10 schools have been damaged or destroyed. Schools have been targeted or used by parties to the fighting, which means families do not feel safe sending their children back to the classroom.

The UN Children's Fund continues to call for an immediate ceasefire. Multiple UN agencies say that families have been separated and lives are torn apart.

HT

Source: ANI

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