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Covid-19 to Push Additional 120 Million Children into Poverty in South Asian Region : UNICEF Report

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120 mn children into povertyOn 23rd June 2020, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released its first report titled “Lives Upended How COVID-19 threatens the futures of 600 million South Asian children” focusing on the South Asian region on the impacts of COVID-19 on children states that around 240 million children are classified as poor and the current COVID-19 situation will affect an additional 120 million children, a total of 360 million children will be pushed into poverty and food insecurity in the next 6 months.

About the Report:

i.The report focuses on both the immediate and long-term consequences of the COVID-19 situation in the South Asia region.

ii.The report covers the 8 South Asian Countries Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

iii.The report also states about the inequality of electricity and internet access required to support the 430 million children depending on the remote learning and the disadvantaged children.

iv.South Asia is home to over 600 million children under 18 years of age, with nearly six out of every 10 of them likely to become poor and food insecure in South Asia.

COVID-19 Effects on children:

i.Immunization, nutrition and other vital health services are disrupted due to pandemic situations.

ii.In the worst-case scenario, South Asia could see the additional deaths of as many as 881,000 children aged 5 or under and that of 36,000 mothers over the next twelve months. The bulk of these deaths would occur in India and Pakistan, although Bangladesh and Afghanistan could also see significant levels of additional mortality.

iii.Around 1.5 million children in Uttar Pradesh have missed the vaccination dose amid the COVID-19 lockdown in India.

Food Insecurity:

i.More than 30% families in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and other South Asian regions have reduced their food consumption or couldn’t afford three meals a day.

ii.More than a billion people of the South Asian region are categorised as “Food Insecure”.

What should be done?

i.The KidsRights Index 2020 states that many countries including the South Asian countries do not allocate sufficient budget for the children’s rights.

ii.Schools should reopen as soon as possible with proper sanitation and physical distancing.

iii.The UN outlined a strategic plan for 2021 the response to COVID-19 towards sustainable, climate-resilient development interventions that safeguard the region’s most vulnerable children.

About UNICEF:
Executive Director– Henrietta Fore
Headquarters– New York, United States of America

About UN:
Secretary General– António Guterres
Headquarters– New York, United States of America