Ukraine children forced to live in bomb shelters

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Children have been swept up in the violence in Ukraine. UNICEF/Giacomo Pirozzi

Continued fighting in Ukraine has forced an estimated 1,000 children and their families into bomb shelters in the eastern city of Donetsk.

UN children's agency UNICEF says there's a serious health risk from diseases such as polio to the country's 7.9 million youngsters.

It's calling for an immediate halt to hostilities between government and rebel forces and for both sides to keep children out of harm's way.

Daniel Johnson reports

At least 1,000 children have been forced into underground bomb shelters in Ukraine amid renewed fighting, UNICEF said Tuesday.

“Children suffer psychologically, are missing out on schooling and are at risk of various diseases due to lack of hygiene and vaccines…"

Unicef representative Giovanna Barberis, speaking on the line from Kiev.

She said that "the most vulnerable" youngsters are in shelters in Donetsk and "are not going out…because of the security situation".

UNICEF has visited 12 shelters and delivered hygiene kits but Ms Barberis said there was "not a regular pipeline" of access to the rebel-controlled areas.

As separatists clash with government forces in Ukraine, latest UN figures indicate at least 5,187 people killed since last April, and 11,515 wounded.

The UN Children's Fund says 1.2 million children have been affected by the conflict. 

A major concern is the threat of polio since 1.5 million children under five years old have not had the vaccine.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration: 1′ 04″

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