With Coronavirus lockdown shutting all schools, the children are not only deprived of classes but also miss out school meals. About 370 million children depend on school meals the world over. The UN Children’s Fund and World Food Programme have expressed fear these children would suffer from nutritional and health consequences as a result of this.
“For millions of children in fragile countries, school is a place of safety. The promise of a daily meal, as well as access to health and nutrition,’’ World Food Programme said in a tweet.
“Without it, they go hungry, they risk falling sick, dropping out of school and losing their best chance of escaping poverty”, WFP Executive Director David Beasley said. He said that there was a need to act now to prevent the health pandemic from becoming a hunger catastrophe.
Meals at school are critical for children, especially for girls. The UN Agencies also said that some parents in poor countries even sent their daughters to school for a meal.
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said that schools and meals are lifeline to safety, health services and nutrition for many children.
The WFP and UNICEF said that they were working with governments to support children who are out of school. They said children in about 70 countries were provided with take-home rations, cash transfers or vouchers.