The number of children living in multidimensional poverty has soared to approximately 1.2 billion due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new UNICEF and Save the Children analysis published on Thursday, reports BSS.
The analysis says that this is a 15 per cent increase in the number of children living in deprivation in low- and middle-income countries, or an additional 150 million children since the pandemic hit earlier this year, said a release.
Although the analysis paints a dire picture already, UNICEF warns the situation will likely worsen in the months to come.
“COVID-19 and the lockdown measures imposed to prevent its spread have pushed millions of children deeper into poverty,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.
“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 thing is that, we are closer to the beginning of this crisis than its end,” said the release.
“This 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”, said Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children.
“Children who lose out on education are more likely to be forced into child labour 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.”
There are not only more children experiencing poverty than before, the poorest children are getting poorer as well, the report notes.
Some children may suffer one or more deprivations and others experience none at all, therefore the average number of deprivations suffered per child can be used to assess how poor children are.
According to the release, before the pandemic, the average number of sever deprivations per child was around 0.7. It is now estimated to have increased by 15 per cent to around 0.85.
According to UNICE, Governments must prioritize the most marginalized children and their families through rapid expansion of social protection systems including cash transfers and child benefits, remote learning opportunities, healthcare services and school feeding to help countries to prepare for future shocks.