Since the Russian invasion, 1.5 million children have fled Ukraine: 75,000 girls and boys a day become refugees. In addition, many move within the country to escape the fire. Children with injuries are taken to the west of the country.
"Since February 24, more than 160 Ukrainian children have been killed and more than 300 wounded, more than 1.5 million children have left the country. Just think about it - every day since the war began, on average, more than 75,000 children have become refugees. Every day. An even more shocking figure: 55 children leave the country every minute," stressed James Elder, spokesman for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
"This crisis is unprecedented in the speed and scale of refugee flows since World War II, and we have yet to see any sign of them slowing down," said James Elder
He added that, like all children driven from their homes by war and conflict, Ukrainian children arriving in neighboring countries face all kinds of risks, including being lost, unaccompanied, abused, sexually exploited and trafficked.
They all need help and protection, especially those who have travelled abroad unaccompanied by adult family members or relatives and acquaintances.
Paul Dillon of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said during a briefing in Geneva that the total number of refugees from Ukraine is already three million. Among them are about 57,000 citizens of third countries.
As is known, according to official information, there are about 1,000 civilians on the territory of Azovstal. The Russian occupants do not allow their evacuation, constantly shelling the territory of the plant with all kinds of weapons.
Humanitarian organizations in Mariupol report that the situation in this port city has further deteriorated after the new massive Russian bombardment. Hundreds of thousands of people are literally on the verge of survival due to a shortage of everything from bread, water to medicine. At the same time, they cannot escape from the city besieged by Russian troops.
Mariupol has become a symbol of military resistance and humanitarian disaster in war. Tens of thousands of people remain in the city without water, food or heat, but many still manage to leave.
Few cities have been mentioned by the media and politicians around the world as often as Mariupol since Russia's war against Ukraine began. The port on the Sea of Azov has become both a symbol of desperate military resistance under constant bombardment and shelling by the Russian military and an illustration of a terrible humanitarian disaster.
The news about a maternity hospital where pregnant women had been held and a theater that had served as a shelter for civilians that had been destroyed in the fighting stunned the world.
The EU called the actions of Russian troops in the city a large-scale war crime. We collected the testimonies of those who managed to evacuate the city to Ukrainian-controlled territory.
There were corpses all over the city
Nikolai Osichenko, head of Mariupol Television, was able to leave the city with his family and neighbors.
-The building of this maternity hospital is located 500 meters from the house where I live. When a plane flew in and dropped a bomb there, we thought it had hit our house - the blast wave was so strong.
It is a children's hospital, the maternity ward is on the third floor and on the second floor is the children's trauma ward. My wounded neighbor, a 60-year-old man, had been discharged from that hospital the day before the blast. He ended up in the children's hospital because there was no other place for him. He was being patched up by pediatricians.
The Russian media wrote that there were no children or women there, but the headquarters of some battalion. But there were a lot of women, a lot of children.
When we left, we didn't see a single house in the city that had survived. Somewhere the windows blew out, somewhere there was a through hole in the building. Somewhere the top floor had been blown off. We drove through the city, and there were bodies everywhere. Women, men, children. We tried to distract our kids in the car so they wouldn't look there. It was just awful.
"My heart was broken in three pieces"
Medical worker Natalya Koryagina, left Mariupol on March 14
- I went from the left bank of Kalmius to a private house in the center of town with one backpack on my shoulders - there was less shelling back then. It was the last day when public transportation still went to the left bank.
I lived with my mother, she was 79 years old, she refused to go with me. Neither my tears nor my threats had any effect. An hour after I left, Grad shelled the school and two houses nearby. The neighbors who had windows facing east had all their windows blown out. At my mom's, they survived, but the lights and water were turned off.
The worst thing was the lack of water. Water was brought to certain points and our men tried to get it. It snowed twice, we were able to collect two tubs, it was a blessing. There was no cell phone service, to get a signal, you have to go out of the house about 900 meters away. So we learned the corridor for private cars and decided to go. We loaded the cars under the terrible cannons, metal debris flying right into the fence.
But by 9 p.m. we were able to drive into Berdyansk, where we spent the night in a school. In the morning we drove on. There were many cars with children in the convoy, and we drove very carefully, avoiding unexploited shells. There were aggressor checkpoints at the entrance and exit to all settlements - there were about 30 of them. Before Zaporizhzhya, the bridge was blown up, again the traffic jam, the detour was narrow and slow. We passed, and an hour later the convoy there was shelled from Grad, there were casualties.
"It's just hell out there"
Alexander Skorobogatko, an employee of an international humanitarian organization, left Mariupol on March 15
- In early March, it became clear that the threat of a humanitarian disaster was looming over the entire city - food and medicine were not coming, people began to panic. Before, I had only heard about humanitarian disasters theoretically. I had never worked in foreign missions and had never encountered such problems.
Together with my sister, we moved in with a relative, the three of us lived in a one-room apartment, sleeping on the floor in the corridor - I felt safe there. We somehow adapted to the shelling, to the lack of food, to the fact that the neighboring house blew up. We spent a lot of time with our neighbors, cooked on campfires.
I don't want to forget anything, it turned my life upside down and will stay with me forever. I don't want to forget all the people who died. And I want to make the most of this experience in my future work. Many volunteers now somehow go to Mariupol, we exchange experience. But no one guarantees safety, on the contrary, they warn you: you may not come back. And I keep looking for options to get my relatives out, at least to the nearest safe villages. They say they do it for money.
It's hell there, it's ten times worse, I can't even imagine what trials my relatives are going through.
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