Coronavirus: ‘Millions of South Asian children could fall below poverty line’

Aizbah KhanWeb Editor

23rd Jun, 2020. 10:27 pm
Coronavirus: 'Millions of South Asian children could fall below poverty line'

The United Nations says more than 100 million children in South Asia could fall below the poverty line as a result of the long-term effects of the coronavirus.

According to details, the UN report said that the number of coronavirus cases has increased in the past few weeks in this densely populated region.

The report said a major reason for the increase was the easing of lockdowns to revive economic activity, which has been badly affected due to the pandemic.

UNICEF said in its report that although children were less affected by the virus, the economic and social impact of the lockdown was severe.

According to the report, there are about 600 million children in South Asia, of whom 240 million are forced to live below the poverty line.

South Asia includes India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Bhutan.

In the worst-case scenario, the virus could push another 120 million children into poverty and food insecurity within six months, the report warned.

Ms Jean Gough, UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, said in a statement that without immediate action, COVID-19 could destroy the hopes and future of an entire generation.

She said that various food and immunization programs for children have been severely affected.

UNICEF said that in Bangladesh, some of the poorest families could not afford three meals a day, while in Sri Lanka, a survey found that 30 per cent of families had reduced their food intake.

Poor children are struggling to get an education due to school closures, lack of access to the internet, and unavailability of electricity.

The report added that “approximately 32 million children worldwide are out of school and Millions of children will be affected by COVID-19.”

Also read: Malnutrition kills Three more children in Thar

Earlier, the United Nations had said that more than 400,000 deaths of children under the age of five were recorded in Pakistan last year.

The World Children for 2019 report released by the World Health Organization revealed that in just one year, 2018, a total of 490,000 children between the ages of one and five died in Pakistan.

Also read: UN expects 110 mn children to be born amidst the pandemic

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