The Covid-19 pandemic appears to have led to a 15% increase in the number of children around the world living in poverty, according to a new report from UNICEF, the United Nations' Children's Fund, and the nonprofit Save the Children.
The organizations noted on Thursday that this rise in poverty represents an additional 150 million children not having adequate access to education, housing, nutrition, health services, sanitation or water -- making the global number of children in poverty now nearly 1.2 billion.
The report is based on data from almost 80 countries.
"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," Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children, said in a news release on Thursday.
"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," Ashing said. "National governments and the international community must step up to soften the blow."
Safety concerns: Additionally, poverty can have a significant impact on the wellbeing and safety of women and children.
"We shouldn't rush to think that only poor people face gender-based violence. That has been disproven over and over. But what is true is the availability of services, and the availability of space," Dr. Natalia Kanem, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, told reporters during a virtual meeting hosted by the UN Foundation on Thursday.
"Sometimes the situation turns volatile, because we're all cooped in there together," Kanem said. "The idea of a woman being in a stressful situation -- she may have lost her employment, her partner, whatever. The children too can be victimized by that type of a situation. That's the real worry."