displaced family walking in the streets of Lviv, Ukraine

Children fleeing the conflict in Ukraine are at risk of hypothermia, hunger, and even death, as temperatures could plummet to -4˚F degrees this weekend. Credit line: Kateryna Alieko/ Save the Children 

Millions of Children Exposed to Illnesses like Hypothermia as Big Freeze Hits Ukraine, Says Save the Children

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (March 11, 2022) – Millions of children both inside Ukraine and fleeing to neighboring countries are at risk of hypothermia, hunger, and even death, as temperatures could plummet to -4˚F degrees this weekend, Save the Children warned today. 

The past week has seen an extreme Arctic cold blast strike Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, where the current conflict entered its third week, forcing millions from their homes.

At least one million children have now fled Ukraine, and millions more are displaced within the country. 

Irina Saghoyan, Save the Children’s Eastern Europe Director, said: “As temperatures plummet, children who have been forced from their homes are trekking through the brutal cold, with high winds and snow, carrying whatever they could grab before they fled. They are sheltering wherever they can at night, often exposed to the harshest elements. Some of these children are completely alone.

“For those staying put as the conflict escalates around them, there is already not enough food to eat, enough clothes to keep them warm, or resources to repair and heat their homes. 

“These are incredibly dangerous conditions for a child to be exposed to. Newborn babies and small children are at particular risk of getting very cold very quickly and of hypothermia, as they are still developing and less able to regulate their body temperatures. 

“This is before we even begin to think about the mental anguish children will already be going through trying to process what has happened to them over the past two weeks. We must see an immediate end to the violence – it is the only way to protect children.”

Save the Children has been operating in Ukraine since 2014, providing humanitarian aid to children and their families. This includes supporting access to education, distributing winter and hygiene kits, and providing cash grants to families. In addition, our specialists support children to overcome the mental and psychological impacts of their experiences of conflict and violence and increase their ability to cope with stress in their daily lives. 

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding more than 100 years ago, we’ve changed the lives of more than 1 billion children. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube.

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