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A Catastrophe For Children: Millions Of Children Hungry As COVID-19 Cuts Incomes

Millions are already having to work, beg or marry young due to the COVID-19 pandemic

  • 110 million children in Asia alone face hunger because of the crisis
  • In the poorest parts of the world most families have lost most of their income

A report released today by aid agency World Vision has laid out some dramatic impacts felt by the poorest children in the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Millions more children – eight million in Asia alone - could be exposed to harm through begging, child labour, and child marriage because parents cannot afford to buy enough food.

The Aftershocks: Out of Time report warns that global predictions of increased child hunger, violence, and poverty due to the economic impact of COVID-19 are already being seen.

“Our rapid assessments in countries across Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia show we are on the cusp of a catastrophe for children,” says World Vision New Zealand National Director Grant Bayldon, “and each assessment shows major disruptions in income, in the ability to buy sufficient food, and increases in risks to children as families struggle to cope.”

“The effects are already being seen, and could lead to an increase in extreme poverty and hunger not seen for decades.”

World Vision’s community-level data is from 14,000 households in Asia, over 2,400 small business owners in Africa, and more than 360 Venezuelan migrants across Latin America. It confirms that projections by global agencies about the potential impact of the pandemic are already happening. For example:

  • Eighty-four per cent of Venezuelan migrants surveyed in Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela reported a significant drop in income and one in three Venezuelan migrant children goes to bed hungry.
  • In Africa we found more than two thirds of the poorest families said their incomes had been cut in half, and the most common way to cope with that was for the family to eat less.

The report calls on governments, UN agencies, donors, NGOs, and the private sector to act together to protect children from these effects by keeping food and market systems going; protecting jobs and livelihoods; and investing in an inclusive, resilient and green economic recovery.

“The UN estimates it would cost 90 billion US dollars to protect the most world’s most vulnerable children,” says Grant Bayldon, “but that’s only one percent of what OECD and G20 countries have pledged for a global stimulus package.”

You can read World Vision’s Aftershocks: Out of Time report here


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