As of 13 June 2022, 5.1 million refugees from Ukraine have been recorded across Europe, with 2.6 million present in neighboring countries. Nearly two thirds of children of Ukraine are displaced either inside Ukraine or in neighboring countries. UNICEF estimates that children fleeing war in Ukraine are at significant risk of family separation, violence, abuse, sexual exploitation, and trafficking, leading to an acute child protection .
UNICEF sets up Blue Dot hubs along border crossings in neighboring countries. These “one-stop safe havens” provide refugees with practical support to help them in their onward journeys and critical information.
Blue Dots have been established in Moldova, Romania, Poland, Italy, Bulgaria and Slovakia, offering essential support and protections services, including:
- Information and advice desks where families on the move can find support and services available to them as refugees. Families are also made aware of their rights under international humanitarian law.
- Child-friendly spaces, allowing children to rest, play and benefit from structured activities and psychosocial support from trained staff, with separate spaces/activities for young children and adolescents to meet their unique needs.
- Family reunification services to restore and maintain contact among family members and ensure the safety of children. These services also provide information on how to best prevent the separation of families travelling together.
- Counselling and psychosocial support for both children and parents/caregivers who may be facing considerable trauma and stress from their experiences. Psychologists, social workers and other trained professionals are on hand to identify children who might need further support, especially unaccompanied or separated children.
- Referral services to connect refugees who have suffered violence or are experiencing health conditions and other circumstances that require specialised support. Blue Dots also enable UNICEF to identify vulnerable children and women and refer them to specialised services.
- Safe areas to sleep where people with specific needs can rest for a short time or be referred to longer-term emergency accommodation.
- Emergency items (such as clothing, hygiene items, blankets) for highly vulnerable children and women, including children with disabilities.