(NEW YORK) — More than 1.5 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began, according to the head of the U.N. Refugee Agency, many of whom are women and children.
Across the border, in Poland, fellow moms are stepping up to help.
A now-viral photo shows a line of fully-equipped strollers waiting for Ukrainian moms at a train station at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland.
The strollers were placed there by Polish mothers, according to Francesco Malavolta, the photographer who captured the photo.
“The thing that struck me before taking the photo was the absence of people around while two meters away there were miles of people. It seemed surreal,” Malavolta told ABC News by email. “I thought of them both, about the solidarity of those who brought the strollers and the dramatic stories of mothers fleeing the war.”
Malavolta also tweeted on Monday a photo he took showing strollers lined up at the border between Slovakia and Ukraine.
Dopo la stazione ferroviaria di Przemyśl in Polonia, anche sul confine tra Slovacchia e Ucraina vengono lasciati passaggini per quelle mamme costrette a scappare dall’Ucraina con i loro neonati. Copyright foto e testo Francesco Malavolta#ukraineconflict #Ukraine #WWIII #slovakia pic.twitter.com/w5HfDbYGvd
— Francesco Malavolta (@MalavoltaF) March 7, 2022
With men ages 18 to 60 forced to stay and fight in Ukraine, under a martial law order from the Ukrainian government, it is the images of mothers and children escaping the country that have captured the world’s attention.
In Medyka, a village on the border in southeastern Poland, moms and babies who have traveled for days to flee Ukraine are greeted with donated supplies, ranging from baby food to diapers and snow suits.
Adding to the growing humanitarian crisis, data shows, are the number of children who remain in Ukraine without guardians with whom they can flee.
Before the war, approximately 100,000 children in Ukraine were being raised in institutions, according to government statistics, a United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, spokesperson told ABC News Friday.
Many of the institutions are located in hot spots, according to the spokesperson, who added that large numbers of the children in institutions, such as boarding schools and orphanages, have disabilities.
These institutions are being evacuated without proper monitoring of the children’s situation, according to UNICEF.
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