UNICEF works in 22 countries and territories in Europe and Central Asia Region (ECAR) and is present in Italy, supporting refugee and migrant populations. During the reporting period:
ECAR experienced the highest daily rise in new cases since the start of the pandemic with 20,062 average daily cases recorded between 25 September and 21 October.2 Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Ukraine had the highest increases.
Humanitarian situations and political developments have complicated efforts to ensure a systematic response to protect vulnerable children and families. Displaced families in Nagorno-Karabakh are living in temporary shelters with limited space and WASH facilities. In Belarus and Kyrgyzstan, mass gatherings without masks or social distancing have elevated the risk of spreading COVID-19. In Greece, families are placed at increased risk as local opposition mounted against new accommodations for refugees and migrants who lost everything in a fire at Moria Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) on Lesvos.
UNICEF’s leadership in risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) programming highlighted the importance of investing in young people to implement solutions that break silences and bridge gaps to reach the most vulnerable in their communities. In the past month, UNICEF reached an additional 4.5 million people with RCCE messages on COVID-19 prevention, bringing the total number reached to more than 193 million. As well, more than half a million more people are now being reached with critical WASH supplies, including hygiene items, bringing the total reached to over 2 million.
An emerging evidence base on maternal and newborn deaths is uncovering the tragic impact of COVID-19 not only from infection but as a result of the increased difficulty women experience in accessing antenatal care and safe births when health personnel and resources have been diverted away from routine health services. In Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Health (MoH) reported a threefold increase in maternal mortality during the first nine months of 2020. UNICEF supported the MoH in developing an action plan on quality improvement of mother and child health (MCH) services and has provided technical expertise in preparing a confidential audit of maternal and perinatal mortality.