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As this report makes clear, it is not just COVID-19 that is exacerbating global inequality; the world’s unjust economic response to COVID-19 will deepen global inequality for at least a generation. The most marginalised and vulnerable have been left to fend for themselves and millions of children will pay the price with their lives, unless we act now. In the short term, we need immediate action to ensure the most marginalised have their fair share of the global response. At the United Nations, world leaders must review the dreadful damage done by COVID-19 to the world’s poorest communities and realise they have faced the heaviest burden. Leaders must come together and agree a global package to help low income countries and ensure the most vulnerable to the crisis receive at least some support.
Gilmar Zambrana Cruz; Gwyther Rees
Shreela V. Sharma; Ru-Jye Chuang; Melinda Rushing (et al.)
Todd I. Herrenkohl; Debbie Scott; Daryl J. Higgins (et al.)
Qi Wu; Yanfeng Xu
Lorretta Domfeh Owusu; Kwabena Frimpong-Manso
UNFPA estimates that in addition to the 150 million girls at risk of child marriage pre-pandemic, the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 will put an additional 13 million more girls at risk over the next 10 years. Out of that number, up to four million girls may be in danger of child marriage in the next two years alone, with most child marriages taking place in the immediate aftermath of a crisis.
Currently, as COVID-19 spreads across the world, an unprecedented 76.7 million people are living as refugees, or have been displaced inside their countries. Some 131 of the countries affected by COVID-19 have sizeable refugee populations and more than 80% of refugees are hosted in low- and middle-income countries including Uganda, Sudan, Pakistan and Turkey, with health systems that are ill-equipped to manage significant outbreaks. Refugee and IDP camps are mostly chronically overcrowded and measures to avoid community transmission of the virus, such as physical distancing and frequent handwashing, are difficult to implement. The absence of basic amenities, such as clean running water and soap, insufficient medical personnel, and poor access to health information, let alone access to masks, will make avoiding infection virtually impossible. Also, in many host countries, refugees’ entitlement to healthcare and social protection systems are restricted or non-existent, which increases their vulnerability even further.
The economic impact of public health measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic is having a devastating effect on communities affected by conflict and displacement. Compounding numerous existing crises and challenges, Covid-19 related travel restrictions, the closure of markets and businesses, and the general economic downturn are causing these communities to lose work and income. This, in turn, makes it even harder for them to feed their families, keep a roof over their heads, and send their children to school. This report is based on a survey of 1,400 people affected by conflict and displacement in eight countries, and more detailed surveys and needs assessment in a total of 14 countries.
UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.
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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response