Emptying Ukraine’s Orphanages: Ukraine Seeks to Trace Thousands of ‘Orphans’ Scattered by War

Sarah Slobin, Joanna Plucinska - Reuters

Ukraine says it dismissed nearly 100,000 children from institutional care. With help from U.N. child agency UNICEF, it is still trying to reach some 26,000 of them.

At the Odesa Orphanage-Boarding School four months after Russia invaded Ukraine, an air raid alarm sent nurses in white coats hurrying residents into a basement beneath the kitchen. Among them was Tanya, a slight 12-year-old who favors a pink sun hat.

On June 15, Tanya, who is autistic and does not speak, was moved from the institution, her home of four years, following an order from the local government in March to evacuate. Tanya, like most children in Ukraine’s vast orphanage system, has parents but they were unable to care for her properly so the state took over, the orphanage director said.