Global perspective Human stories

News in Brief 24 February 2023

News in Brief 24 February 2023

Year of war in Ukraine has had a devastating impact on children: UNICEF 

After a year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, nearly 500 children have been killed and almost 1,000 injured by explosive weapons, UN humanitarians said on Friday. 

In addition to that terrible human toll, UNICEF, the UN Children’s Fund, said that more than 800 health facilities had been damaged or destroyed by shelling. 

Access to education has been disrupted too, with thousands of pre-schools and secondary schools damaged by the war. 

In total, 7.8 million children have been impacted and more than five million have no access to schooling in Ukraine at all, UNICEF has warned.  

With more on the wider impact on all communities caught up in the conflict, here’s Birgitte Bischoff Ebbesen from UN-partner the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies: 

“One of the top issues that we are seeing and need to highlight are the psychological wounds that are not only adding another cruel layer of pain to people already struggling to cope. The anger and the torment of the last year has hit people very hard. And this continues.” 

Southern Africa cholera spike fears after Cyclone Freddy  

As countries in south-eastern Africa braced for tropical cyclone Freddy on Friday, UN health experts expressed concern that it could cause the cholera outbreak on the continent to worsen. 

Mozambique, where Freddy made landfall, is already struggling to contain cholera that has affected more than 5,200 people since September 2022. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in the past two weeks, cholera infections in Mozambique increased by 17 per cent.  

Zambia and Malawi are also in the grip of the disease, which causes acute diarrhea and can be deadly among vulnerable youngsters and the elderly, if not treated quickly. 

Highlighting the threat from the cyclone, Clare Nullis from the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned that it was likely to bring “very dangerous and exceptional rainfall levels”: 

“The soils in Mozambique are already saturated. The river basin levels are already past alert level because there have been very, very heavy seasonal rainfalls so far. So, we shouldn't underestimate the threat of this additional rain.” 

UNICEF appeals for support for children affected by Türkiye earthquakes 

A senior official with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Friday called for greater support for boys and girls affected by the powerful earthquakes in Türkiye, which have left more than one million people homeless. 

Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, told journalists in Geneva that children in Türkiye risk developing anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.  

“They need to be able to resume their education, and they urgently need psychosocial support to help deal with the trauma they have experienced,” she said. 

In Syria, which was also rocked by massive earthquakes on 6 February, the UN has also warned that mass displacement in the northwest could cause “a secondary disaster”, because of poor access to basic hygiene and health care.  

Daniel Johnson, UN News. 


  • Ukraine: devastating year of conflict’s impact on children  

  • Southern Africa cholera spike fears after Cyclone Freddy  

  • Türkiye, Syria earthquake relief update  

Audio Credit
Daniel Johnson, UN News - Geneva
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Photo Credit
© UNICEF/Olena Hrom