UNICEF concerned about COVID-19 impact on Mideast children

New York (Debriefer)
2020-04-20 | Since 1 Week

25 million needy children in MENA

The UNICEF on Monday expressed concern at COVID-19 impact on children in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where the current situation is "expected to increase poverty by an additional 8 million people .. half of them are children."
The MENA "region is home to nearly 25 million children in need including refugees and internally displaced, the majority of whom were uprooted due to armed conflicts and wars in Syria, Yemen, Sudan, the State of Palestine, Iraq and Libya," the child organization said in a statement.
"The region has the biggest number of children in need in the world due to ongoing conflicts and wars. It has the highest unemployment rates among young people," UNICEF MENA Regional Director said.
"Nearly half of all children in the region live in a multidimension of poverty; deprived of basic services including education, housing, nutrition, health care, safe water, sanitation and access to information," Ted Chaiban added.
"The combination of lack or inadequate basic services, years of conflict, poverty, deprivation and now COVID-19 are hitting vulnerable children the most, making their hard lives simply unbearable.
"The longer all of this goes on, the deeper the impact will be, especially on children," he warned.
"UNESCWA estimates that 1.7 million jobs would be lost in 2020 due to the closure of most businesses, suspension of salaries and near-total lockdowns," UNICEF statement read.
"This is expected to increase poverty by an additional 8 million people in the region. UNICEF estimates that it is likely that half of them are children.
"Unless supported by national social protection systems and programs, families will have no choice but to resort to child labor, early marriage and school drop-out only to survive," the statement warned.
"While we are fortunate not to have many cases among children, it is evident that the pandemic is affecting children firsthand," Chaiban said. "Many families in the region are already becoming poorer due to the loss of jobs especially the daily-paid.
"Families are struggling to bring food to the table due to containment measures. Beyond that, it is safe to say that all children across the region are impacted psychologically as a result of the shock of lock down, not going to school, not playing or doing sports outdoors or not being able to meet their friends," he added.
UNICEF in the MENA region "is appealing today for US$92.4 million to be able to continue its response activities across the region in support of combating COVID-19," according to the statement.

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