UKRAINE: CHILDREN IN DIRE NEED AS WAR PLUNGES TWO IN FIVE FAMILIES INTO ‘EXTREME’ POVERTY
KYIV, 29 March – Two out of five families in Ukraine are in extreme need of livelihoods and basic items, Save the Children said today, as the country experiences unprecedented rates of displacement, inflation, and unemployment one year into full-scale war.
According to the latest study of the needs across Ukraine, more than 40% of households reported they are struggling to meet day-to-day needs of food, water, and basic supplies. This number rises to 60% in the East and South, areas affected by heavy fighting.
The National Bank of Ukraine assessed an inflation rate of 25% last month, with cost of produce growing by almost half in the eastern regions. Back in September, one in five consumers in Ukraine reported they could not afford items available in their stores.
5.3 million people still find themselves away from home in Ukraine, and the need for financial assistance among families forced from their homes is growing by the day. One out of four people in Ukraine are currently unemployed. As many displaced parents struggle to find sustainable work, some are being forced to return to their war-torn hometowns to find jobs.
Last March, the 12-year-old Anton* and his parents left Kharkiv for western Ukraine after constant shelling made life unbearable. A few months later, Anton’s father was forced to return.
“[…] my husband was called to return to work. [He] didn’t return home because our house was destroyed,” said Olha*, Anton’s mother. “[My children] worry, they constantly ask when dad will live with us and when will we all be together. Not a day goes by that they don't think about it.”
Sonia Khush, Save the Children Country Director in Ukraine, said:
“The scale of need for families in Ukraine is enormous, and it keeps growing as war plunges more and more children and parents into poverty every day. People are ling sources of income as wages across the country cease and businesses continue to be closed. This is a devastating blow to displaced families who had already lost almost everything and are now struggling for survival.
“ Children are the future of Ukraine. The world must commit to helping this generation to recover, live in safety and dignity, and have a future to look forward to.
Anna* and her three children are barely keeping up with household costs in their new home in western Ukraine. Having evacuated from their hometown in Donbas in September, they barely had any savings and were initially forced to share an apartment with others. They were also unable to afford rent, food and clothing. The family have now received cash assistance from Save the Children to cover their basic needs.
More than anything, Anna’s* family wants to return home, “…but I understand that I cannot go there, no matter how much I want to...that I have to endure. […] how long we can live here depends on the funds we have,” Anna said.
Save the Children calls for full, unhindered humanitarian access to families caught up in the crisis, regardless of where they are, particularly to those living in areas affected by armed hostilities. Ukraine donors should start planning for early recovery where possible in line with the humanitarian-development-nexus.
As the UK prepares to host the Ukraine Recovery Conference in June, an annual event dedicated to the country’s transformation, the British Government must take this opportunity to put the voices of children front and centre.
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- All names changed to protect identities.
Save the Children calls on all parties to allow full and unhindered humanitarian access to families caught up in the crisis and living in conflict-affected areas of Ukraine.
Save the Children is working closely with 23 partners across Ukraine to provide life-saving assistance to make sure children and families impacted by this crisis have all the support they need, as we have been doing since the conflict first erupted in 2014.
Through the first year of the war, Save the Children has delivered crucial aid such as food and water, cash, winter items and clothes, and safe spaces, to more than 800,000 people in Ukraine, half of them children. Our cash assistance has reached more than 100,000 families, totalling more than $29 million USD.
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