Children killed and injured by landmines in Eastern Ukraine

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A young displaced Ukrainian boy. Photo: UNHCR/B. Kinashchuk

At least 109 children are reported to have been injured and 42 killed by landmines and unexploded ordnance in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine since March last year, according to the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF.

However, the number of children killed or injured is expected to be significantly higher as areas not under government control are not included, the agency adds.

It says the State Emergency Service of Ukraine is currently working on the ground to remove the remaining artillery.

Cathrine Hasselberg reports.

After a year of conflict, the remnants of heavy weapons that have been left behind in towns and villages pose a great risk to displaced families returning to their homes.

At least 5 million people in Ukraine are affected by the ongoing crisis, with more than 1.1 million people internally displaced due to the ongoing violence.

UNICEF and its partners have launched a mine-risk education campaign in crisis-affected areas of Ukraine to provide children and their families with lifesaving information about the risks posed by landmines and explosives.

Christophe Boulierac is UNICEF Spokesperson in Geneva.

"The campaign includes risk educational messages in print, video and digital formats as well as the training of 100 teachers and school psychologists on mine-risk awareness. With the 4 April International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action just days away, the situation in Ukraine is a grave reminder that despite global progress in de-mining, children and communities continue to fall victim to mines and explosive remnants of war."

UNICEF reported that the State Emergency Service of Ukraine have so far located and removed more than 33,717 remnants of explosive items from the Donetsk and Luhansk areas.

Christophe Boulierac warned that unexploded ordnance and landmines pose a particular risk to children because they are often brightly coloured and can be mistaken for toys or objects of value.

Cathrine Hasselberg United Nations.

Duration: 1’40″

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