Unicef: 1.7 million Ukrainian children suffering amid conflict, winter cold
 Tbilisi 12:14 - 21.12.14 «GHN»
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More than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation, the U.N. children's agency has warned, with their suffering exacerbated by harsh winter weather, reports GHN based on CNN.
Many families have been forced from their homes and lack access to safe water, sanitation and schooling.
"Children continue to bear the brunt of this conflict, with schooling disrupted and access to basic services limited," said Marie-Pierre Poirier, Unicef regional director for Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
She called for extra resources to be provided to those in need.
"Extremely harsh winter conditions have made the impact of the crisis more acute," she said.
Government forces and pro-Russia rebels have been battling for control of eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions since April, after Russia annexed Ukraine's southeastern Crimea region the previous month.
According to a Unicef press release Friday, 147 schools have been closed in parts of the Donetsk region where fighting is ongoing, disrupting the education of about 50,000 children since September 1. While some schools are in ruins, others are closed because of safety concerns.
In government-controlled areas, 187 educational institutions in total have been damaged or destroyed, Unicef said.
The closures mean that besides lessons, children are missing out on the stability and routine that can be provided by school at a time of crisis, helping to alleviate their stress, the agency said.


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