Ukraine: Twice as many schools attacked in the last 100 days than in the first 7 years of conflict – Ukraine
Kyiv June 2, 2022 – More schools in Ukraine have been damaged and destroyed in the last 100 days than in the first seven years after fighting broke out in 2014, Save the Children said today.
At least 1,888 schools have been damaged and destroyed by shelling and shelling since the conflict escalated on February 24, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science. This is more than double the number of such attacks recorded in eastern Ukraine between 2014 and 2021, when some 750 schools were damaged, destroyed or forced to close.
The war has disrupted education for the 7.5 million children who lived in Ukraine at the start of this year.
“The fact that Ukraine is facing a record number of attacks on schools should shock everyone. With each passing day in this war, children’s lives and futures are put at risk,” he added. said Onno van Manen, acting country director for Save the Children in Ukraine. “This war must end now.”
Relentless shelling in Ukraine has forced more than 6.7 million people to flee the country in the past 100 days, around half of them children. On average, this represents around 33,500 children every day.
However, several thousand children like 13-year-old Mariia* have been displaced inside Ukraine and some are using the remaining schools as shelters from violence.
Mariia fled the eastern region of Donetsk with her mother, her six-year-old brother and their cat when fighting intensified near their hometown. The family traveled for two days by train to L’viv. From there they went further until they found a school where they could safely shelter.
“When we left our home area, I was glad we didn’t hear those explosions [anymore]. But I was sad that we were leaving the house, our apartment,” Maria said. “Now we live in a different atmosphere, there are a lot of people here. Everything changed.”
Mariia and her family have been living in a classroom and sharing bathrooms with 60 other people at the school in Chernivtsi, western Ukraine, since April.
“Physically I feel good, but emotionally it has been difficult” Maria said. “However, I hope we can go home. And if not, we will settle here. I hope everyone will be well and have peaceful skies.
Mariia’s mother, Olena*, explained that the conflict had serious consequences on Mariia’s physical and mental health. Save the Children is providing the family with cash assistance to help them buy medicine, food and other basic necessities.
“My daughter has a chronic illness that is getting worse due to stress. And, of course, under all the current circumstances, his condition has deteriorated considerably,” Olena said. “During the war at home, we couldn’t control our daughter’s condition, so as soon as we received financial assistance, we were able to resume treatment and get results.”
One in 10 schools attacked this year was completely destroyed, and more than half of the 1,708 schools damaged were in eastern Ukraine.
If attacks on schools continue, children like Mariia will continue to bear the brunt of war. A single attack can not only cause devastating physical and emotional injuries to children, but also rob hundreds of students of the chance to receive a quality education. Sometimes a community’s only place of learning is destroyed.
Although education is a top priority for children and parents in crisis, it is too often the first service to be suspended and one of the last to resume. A Save the Children report published in 2019 for which more than 1,200 children from six crisis-affected countries were interviewed found that almost one in three children (29%) wanted the chance to go to school above all else. school.
Currently, all schools in Ukraine are closed. However, Save the Children has helped Ukrainian authorities improve the country’s online learning system so that children like 11-year-old Lev* still have access to engaging digital learning.
Lev now lives in a shelter in Chernivtsi, about 1,000 kilometers from his home in Kharkiv. He has not seen the inside of a classroom since the outbreak of war. Instead, he continues his studies online.
“I haven’t seen my school for a long time. I wanted to go to school this Thursday (February 24), but I couldn’tsaid Lev, who started learning online two days before the war started.
While some children in Ukraine like Lev are attending school through online learning, others have had to put their education on hold, especially those living in areas with active combat and limited internet or device access, and those fleeing the country.
“The fact that schools in Ukraine have been shelled and shelled twice as often in the last 100 days as in the seven years of conflict preceding this escalation is utterly despicable,” he added. van Manen continued. “Every attack on a school is an attack on children, just as every war is a war on children.”
Recent fighting has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation, particularly in the eastern regions of the country. Before the violence escalated, many children in eastern Ukraine were already too scared to go to class and were upset by the presence of armed soldiers in and around their schools.
Save the Children calls on all parties to the conflict to cease attacks and threats against schools and to refrain from any military use of educational facilities. The presence of military forces or other armed groups in schools damages facilities, disrupts student education and may provoke attacks from opposing forces. Schools must be protected as safe spaces that provide shelter from harm and the opportunity to learn and play.
In Ukraine, Save the Children distributes educational kits to keep children learning wherever they can, as well as bunker kits with toys and educational tools to children who take shelter in train stations and underground to stay free from conflict. The aid organization is also working with the Ministry of Education and Science, local authorities and partners to establish digital learning centers in shelters across the country. These centers provide safe spaces for children to access devices or use their own to continue learning.
With the help of local partners, Save the Children is providing shelter, food, cash, fuel, psychological support, baby kits and hygiene kits to displaced families. She is on the ground, distributing essential household kits to families affected by the conflict.
Save the Children has been operating in Ukraine since 2014, providing humanitarian aid to children and their families. It now supports refugee families across Europe and helps children access the services they need, including education through digital platforms.
Notes to Editor:
– According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science, as of May 28, 1,888 educational institutions had suffered shelling and shelling, with 1,708 damaged and 180 (10.5% or one in 10) destroyed. These figures have not been verified by the UN.
For more information, please contact:
- Samantha Halyk [email protected] (based in London)
- Kim Gardiner [email protected] (based in Ukraine)
- Our out of hours (BST) media contact is [email protected] / +44(0)7831 650409
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