UN: Hundreds of thousands of children in the Donbas need psychological help

Every fourth child in Donetsk and Lugansk regions - that is, more than 200,000 children - needs urgent psychosocial care, as reported by the UN News Center.

"The world has forgotten about this ‘invisible’ crisis in eastern Ukraine, but hundreds of thousands of children are paying a heavy price, one that could last a lifetime without adequate support," said UNICEF Representative in Ukraine Giovanna Barberis.

According to her, the children of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions living within a radius of 15 kilometers of the contact-line are suffering the most. Outbreaks of fighting and mortar shelling have become a daily reality for them. The territory adjacent to the contact line is dotted with anti-personnel mines and other unexploded ordinance, says the report.

It notes that for many children, the road to school is associated with huge risk; and for others - there is simply nowhere to go. Seven school buildings were damaged as a result of the escalation of the conflict in February-March this year. Since the beginning of the conflict, 740 schools have been completely destroyed or damaged in Ukraine.

"Parents, teachers, school directors and psychologists continue to report striking behavior changes in children as young as three years old. Symptoms include severe anxiety, bed-wetting, nightmares, aggressive behavior and withdrawing from families and communities," UNICEF noted.

As is reported, psychologists and social workers are doing their best, but due to lack of funding, it is not possible to help all the affected children.

UNICEF calls on the international community to provide $31 million to provide necessary support to children in the conflict zone and 5.5 million of them for psychological support projects.

  Ukraine, Luhansk, Donetsk