Children of Ukraine in freezing cold weather near the border

Families separated and children at risk

Over 6 million people have fled their homes to escape conflict in Ukraine

DEC member charities are concerned for the millions of people who have fled their homes to escape conflict in Ukraine. Leaving behind jobs, belongings and loved ones, they need shelter, food and water. 

Families are divided while fleeing conflict in Ukraine

Heavy fighting, shelling and airstrikes across Ukraine have had devastating consequences for ordinary people. Over 6 million people have fled the country in recent weeks, and many more are expected to follow.

They have been forced to leave behind jobs, belongings and their loved ones. Exhausted families have been arriving at the Romanian border, many of them on foot.

The current conflict is having a significant impact on the lives of children, many of whom have had to flee fighting and see relatives drafted into military service. Some will have witnessed traumatic acts of violence.

Valentina's story

World Vision International CEO and president Andrew Morley spoke to Valentina, who was forced to flee with her two young children. Her son cried as they crossed the border, as they’d had to leave her husband behind.

Talking about her experience, Valentina said: “We were running away from war because we heard explosions. We knew that the war had started, and I felt very panicky.”

Valentina said: “I am very sad to leave our country, and to be parted from members of our family is extremely heart-breaking. We crossed in tears, my son was crying his eyes out. We left his father just back here. He took us in his car to the border and he had to park. The journey was very difficult.”

Asked how her son now feels to be in Romania, Valentina said: “He feels happy to meet nice people because he feels welcome. There is so much help all over the place.”

"I saw confused children at the border"

World Vision Romania staff member Alberta Roca has been at the border handing out aid supplies and says stories like Valentina’s are common. Alberta said: “I’ve seen hundreds of mothers who have been forced to flee their homes alone with their children. They are without their husbands. The men are staying behind in Ukraine to fight.

“I saw confused children. Mothers pulled their youngsters along by the hand like suitcases, in a hurry to escape danger. The most emotional thing for me was seeing the children smile on receiving toy gifts.  I knew that in all likelihood in the rush to leave home, they had not found space in their bags to pack their favourite toys.”

A family stands in front Refugee tents for sleeping, near the border.
DEC members are providing accommodation for refugees on the border in Romania.

World Vision is providing displaced people with security

World Vision staff are at borders providing aid packages including clean water, food and hygiene kits and psychosocial support to individuals arriving from Ukraine.

They will also be working to support educational continuity for children, to try and restore a sense of normality and ensure their education continues.

However, World Vision has expressed concern about children potentially being separated from their parents and families during displacement from their homes and communities, exposing them to heightened risks of violence, exploitation and abuse.

How you can support women and children fleeing Ukraine

As part of the DEC, (Disasters Emergencies Committee) World Vision UK has launched an emergency appeal to get urgent help to children and families fleeing this devastating conflict. 

Donate today to help those fleeing Ukraine.

With your help, we can reach more displaced children and their families

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