Covid-19 may cause 120 million children in South Asian countries, including India, to fall into poverty: UNICEF

poor children

New Delhi: An estimated 120 million children living in South Asian countries, including India, may fall into poverty within the next six months due to the Kovid-19 crisis, raising the total number of such children in the region to 36 crore. This has been said in a new report by UNICEF.


The report ‘Lives Ascend- How Kovid-19 Threatens the Futures of 600 Million South Asian Children’ covers eight countries in South Asia including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka. It states that an estimated 24 million children in these countries already live in “multidimensional” poverty including factors such as poor health, lack of education, lack of sanitation and poor quality of work.

It said that in addition 12 crore more children will fall into poverty due to Kovid-19 crisis, which will increase the number of such children to 36 crore. The report also highlights the negative impact of disruptions from Kovid-19 in immunization, nutrition and other important health services. The report, citing a research by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said, “In the worst case scenario, an additional 881,000 children under the age of five years and 36,000 mothers over the next twelve months in South Asia. Deaths can occur. A large number of these deaths will occur in India and Pakistan, although additional levels of mortality can also be seen in Bangladesh and Afghanistan. ” Yasmin Haque, representative of UNICEF India, said that there is a need to start basic essential services at the earliest.

He said, “We have to increase the main essential services for children as soon as possible. Malnutrition is already a problem in India and we have seen a lot of energy in nutrition campaign. We need to come back to that energy level. We need to see how the Anganwadi centers will function during Kovid-19. ” He said that for the loss of days, additional budget and expenditure would be required.

“There will be a need to accelerate not only in the health sector but also at the panchayat level and sarpanch level,” he said. The report said that a particular problem is being faced in India and Nepal as hundreds of schools have been made separate centers. The report noted that the more disturbing aspect of the epidemic is that ethnic or religious communities were blamed for initiating or increasing the spread of Kovid-19.

The report said that hate speeches have appeared in various countries including Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. UNICEF Regional Advisor for Communication for Development L. Saad said, “We have to make online and offline efforts to counter this false information.” One of the concerns in India is to place large numbers of child criminals in detention centers and care centers before facing trial.