Press Release

Aftershock of COVID-19 forces Eight Million children in Asia into begging, working and child marriage, World Vision warns  

World Vision warns that as many as eight million children in Asia alone could be exposed to harm through begging, child labour, and child marriage because their parents and caregivers have lost income and jobs. A report recently released by the aid agency confirms alarming predictions of increased child hunger and poverty due to the economic impact of COVID-19.

World Vision formally launched its COVID-19 Aftershocks: Out of Time report at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum in mid-July 2020. The annual forum is the central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The COVID-19 Aftershocks: Out of Time report outlines the findings after World Vision conducted rapid assessments in 24 countries across Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia.

World Vision’s community-level data from 14,000 households in 9 countries across the Asia region, over 2,400 small business owners in Africa, and more than 360 Venezuelan migrants across Latin America confirms that projections about potential impacts of the pandemic are already happening.

The report warns that as many as eight million children in Asia alone could be exposed to harm through begging, child labour, and child marriage. Their parents and caregivers have lost income and jobs, and thus cannot afford to buy enough food. It also estimates 85 million families across Asia with little or no food stocks and 110 million children in Asia facing hunger due to the pandemic.

In addition, 84 percent of Venezuelan migrants surveyed in Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru reported a significant drop in income. More than 80 percent of migrants said food was scarce, to the extend that one in three Venezuelan migrant children goes to bed hungry. The assessment in Africa also saw the majority of respondents spending less on healthy food to cope with losing income.

“Our rapid assessments in countries show that it’s clear we are on the cusp of a catastrophe for children,” explained Norbert Hsu, World Vision’s Partnership Leader for Global Impact, “and each assessment confirmed major disruptions in income, in the ability to buy sufficient food, and increases in risks to children as families struggle to cope.”

“These assessment results give further evidence that it is often the most vulnerable families and their children who are hardest hit in such crises – those who are living in fragile countries already suffering from conflict, instability or climate change, and those relying on humanitarian assistance,” Norbert Hsu said.

“Without urgent action,” Norbert Hsu said, “we risk an increase in extreme poverty and hunger not seen for decades.”

The report outlines World Vision’s global call to action to governments, UN agencies, donors, NGOs, and the private sector to act together to scale up child-sensitive social protection programmes, keep food and market systems going, and protect jobs and livelihoods now.

World Vision has been offering assistance to vulnerable families and their children, which includes providing cash and vouchers so they can buy basic essentials and providing food where cash and voucher programmes are not possible. World Vision is also striving to keep food and market systems going, as well as protect jobs and livelihoods.

Notes to editor:
Read World Vision’s COVID-19 Aftershocks: Out of Time report here:
https://www.wvi.org/publications/report/coronavirus-health-crisis/aftershocks-out-time


Published on 4 Aug 2020


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