Covid-19 pandemic has shattered the lives of many and the worse is that nearly 1.2 billion children across the word are already pushed to poverty. This was an increase of 15 per cent since the pandemic hit earlier this year, according to UNICEF and Save the Children.
Noting that the situation was already bad, the technical note on impact of Covid 19 on child poverty by UNICEF and Save the Children, issued on Thursday, September 17, warns that the situation was likely worsen in the months to come.
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said that Coronavirus and the lockdown measures had pushed millions of children deeper into poverty. “Families on the cusp of escaping poverty have been pulled back in, while others are experiencing levels of deprivation they have never seen before. Most concerning, we are closer to the beginning of this crisis than its end,” Fore said.
The technical note is based on data on access to education, healthcare, housing, nutrition, sanitation and water from more than 70 countries.
Child poverty ‘much more’ than monetary value
The technical note shows that about 45 per cent of the children were severely deprived” of at least one of the critical needs in the countries analyzed before the pandemic. It said that child poverty was much more than a monetary value.
IT said that there was a heightened need for social protection, investments in social services, employment, inclusive fiscal policies and labour market interventions to support families and preventing further devastation.
Save the Children CEO Inger Ashing said that that Coronavirus had already caused the biggest global education emergency in history, and the increase in poverty will make it very hard for the most vulnerable children and their families to make up for the loss.
Ashing said that the children who had lost education are likely to be forced into child labour or early marriage. And they would be trapped in poverty for years to come, the CEO said.
The technical note said that the worse situation is that the poorest children are becoming poorer. It said that the average number of severe deprivations per child was around 0.7 before the pandemic. This is estimated to have increased by 15 per cent to around 0.85, it notes.
The UNICEF said that the governments should prioritise the most marginalised children and their families. The world agency also called upon the States for rapid expansion of social protection systems that include cash transfers and child benefits, healthcare services, school feeding and remote learning opportunities.