UKRAINE – December 7 2023

Displaced persons toll rises to 3.7 million in Ukraine

In October, civilians in Ukraine faced an escalation of air strikes along the frontline, with notable consequences in Kharkiv, Kherson, and Mykolaiv regions.

On October 5, a missile attack targeted a funeral reception in Hroza, Kharkiv Oblast, claiming the lives of 59 civilians. This incident marked the deadliest in 2023 in terms of civilian casualties. The deteriorating security situation prompted mandatory evacuations of children and families in areas near Kupiansk City and front-line regions of eastern Donetska, southern Khersonska, and south-eastern Zaporizka oblasts. As of September 25th, the internal displacement toll reached 3.7 million people. Ongoing attacks on Black Sea ports and grain storage facilities added further strain, especially in regions like Kharkivska, Khersonska, and Mykolaivska oblasts, which were already grappling with heavy landmine contamination.

With winter's onset and temperatures dropping below zero, concerns heightened regarding attacks on energy infrastructure, water, and gas systems, particularly near the front line. Those most affected by the conflict could face the prospect of a challenging winter, compelled to make difficult choices, such as prioritizing warmth over other essential services. The UN has estimated that 1.7 million people, particularly in front-line oblasts, would require winter assistance to navigate the harsh conditions.

The extensive destruction further exacerbated the strain on essential services, including education, health services, and water access. The impact on children, stemming from damage to schools, displacement, and traumatic experiences, had detrimental effects on their well-being and education. Educational facilities, crucial for the development of children, faced severe damage, disrupting the education of those who experienced displacement and evacuation from front-line areas. From February 2022 to October 2023, 3,800 Ukrainian educational institutions suffered damage or destruction. According to government reports, only 30 percent of the 3 million school-aged children in Ukraine were able to participate in full-time face-to-face learning. Almost 40 percent had to rely on online education, while an additional 30 percent experienced a hybrid of in-person and online schooling.

SOS Ukraine

SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine maintains its position as one of the non-governmental organizations in the country, dedicated to providing children with a family-care environment in current emergency contexts and offering support to families with children facing diverse challenges. Despite the persisting challenges, throughout the month of October, SOS Children's Villages Ukraine successfully upheld its mission of supporting vulnerable families and children at risk of institutionalization. The personnel at SOS Ukraine remains vigilant, continuously monitoring the country's security landscape, with a specific focus on operational areas.

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