Pandemic pushes additional 150 million kids into poverty
The UN Children’s Fund and Save the Children said the number of children living in poverty worldwide soared to nearly 1.2 billion – a 15 percent increase since the pandemic hit earlier this year.
Edd Gumban, file
Pandemic pushes additional 150 million kids into poverty
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - September 22, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed an additional 150 million children into a multidimensional poverty that is deprived of education, health, housing, nutrition and sanitation, a new United Nations study revealed.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children said the number of children living in poverty worldwide soared to nearly 1.2 billion – a 15 percent increase since the pandemic hit earlier this year.

UNICEF warned that the situation will likely worsen in the coming months.

Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director, said COVID-19 and the lockdown measures that were imposed to prevent its spread have 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 concerningly, we are closer to the beginning of this crisis than its end,” Fore added.

The study, based on data on access to education, healthcare, housing, nutrition, sanitation and water from more than 70 countries, also found that around 45 percent of children were “severely deprived” of at least one of the critical needs in the countries analyzed before the pandemic.

It noted that child poverty is much more than a monetary value, and while measures of monetary poverty such as household income are important, they provide only a partial view of the plight of children living in poverty.

The study highlights the need for social protection, inclusive fiscal policies, investments in social services and employment and labor market interventions to support families and prevent further devastation.

Inger Ashing, Save the Children CEO, said the “pandemic has 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.”

“Children who lose out on education are more likely to be forced into child labor or early marriage and be trapped in a cycle of poverty for years to come. We cannot afford to let a whole generation of children become victims of this pandemic. National governments and the international community must step up to soften the blow,” Ashing added.

CHILDREN POVERTY
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