The children in warzone

Child suffering is a largely neglected aspect of the war in Donbas. According to a recent UNICEF report, of the 3.4 million people in need of humanitarian support in eastern Ukraine, sixty per cent are women and children. Andriy Parubiy, speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, reported that 68 children had been killed and 186 wounded since 2014. Another report cites 199 dead and 500 wounded children, with approximately 10 thousand children living in the conflict’s ‘grey zone’ and being endangered daily.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is responsible for monitoring the conflict’s ceasefires since 2014. It frequently reports on injuries sustained by children in both government and non-government-controlled areas. For example, a report from October 2019 reads: “The [OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM)] followed up on reports of a boy injured from the explosion of a hand grenade in Sontseve (non-government-controlled, 55km south-east of Donetsk) on 12 October. On 14 October, at Donetsk Regional Clinical Trauma Hospital, medical staff told the SMM that a nine-year-old boy had been admitted on 12 October with an injury to his left hand caused by detonation, as result of which he had to have four fingers amputated.” The report also cites five children having been injured from a hand grenade on 28 September in Chornohorivka (formerly Krasna Zoria), a non-government-controlled area 51km south-west of Luhansk.

Then someone came to me and said: “your children are alright; the baby has a scratch on her hand”. They lied. I calmed down a bit but couldn’t sleep. They were letting people out from the bomb shelter; I ran into another one. And there I saw… children were lying after operations; there were paramedics, holding their drip bags. There were very few children. I could not see Kira or Kristina there. I then ran to the accident and emergency point asking about my children. They said they brought someone in but by a different surname. I was shaking, the paramedic shouting. And then someone said to me “they are in the mortuary.”

We want to help the children in Donbass.  May you help ?

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