Ukraine War Could Increase Child Death

An average of 22 children a day were killed and maimed in 2021 despite overall drop in grave violations against children even as the numbers are likely to increase in 2022 because of the Ukraine war, according to the Save the Children.

“More than half of all children living in conflict areas in 2021 – an estimated 230 million – lived in the deadliest war zones, a nine per cent increase from the previous year, said an analysis from Save the Children released during the Africa Conference on Children and Armed Conflicts.

While the recorded number of incidents of killing and maiming in conflict has dropped by about a third since 2018, more than 8,000 children – an average of 22 a day – still died or were maimed in 2021. These numbers are tragically expected to rise in 2022 because of the war in Ukraine, the analysis said.

Save the Children International CEOInger Ashing, said: “Children don’t cause or start wars, yet there’s no denying they’re the biggest and most vulnerable victims in any conflict. While reported grave violations were down slightly last year, an average of 22 children a day were still maimed or – worst – robbed of their lives. This is only expected to get worse as conflicts in Ukraine and other countries – like Yemen and DRC – rage on.

“The attention on the war in Ukraine has reminded many of us of the brutality of conflict and its horrific impacts on children, but it’s also a lesson in what’s possible when there’s enough collective political and financial will to ensure children get the lifesaving and life-changing help they need.

“The world must continue protecting children from Ukraine, while doing far more to ensure that children in other conflict-affected countries are looked after.”

  • About 449 million children worldwide—or 1 in 6—were living in a conflict zone in 2021, a slight drop from the previous year (450 million).
  • Africa had the highest overall number of children impacted by conflict (180 million), followed by Asia (152 million), and the Americas (64 million).
  • The Middle East was home to the highest proportion of children living in conflict areas, (1 in every 3 children).
  • While Europe had the lowest overall number and proportion of children impacted by conflict, those numbers are expected to skyrocket in 2022 due to the escalation of violence in Ukraine.
  • Verified incidents of the denial of humanitarian access jumped significantly in the last three years, mostly driven by incidents in Yemen and the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).
  • Among its recommendations, Save the Children is calling on world leaders, donors, members of the UN, and NGOs to protect children by holding perpetrators of these violations to account, ensuring all relevant policies and legal frameworks are ratified and implemented, and prioritising funding for the necessary services to support children impacted by conflict to ensure their recovery and resilience.


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