COVID-19 ‘worst crisis’ for children UNICEF has seen in its 75-year history
On its 75th anniversary, UNICEF warned that COVID-19 is rolling back virtually every measure of progress for children, including a staggering 100 million more children being plunged into poverty.
At its peak, more than 1.5 billion students were out of school due to nationwide shutdowns. Schools were closed worldwide for almost 80 percent of the in-person instruction in the first year of the crisis, the United Nations’ children’s agency said in a report released on Dec. 9.
The number of children in child labor has risen to 160 million worldwide – an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years. An additional 9 million children are at risk of being pushed into child labor by the end of 2022 as a result of the increase in poverty triggered by the pandemic.
Mental health conditions affect more than 13 percent of adolescents aged 10–19 worldwide. By October 2020, the pandemic had disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93 percent of countries worldwide.
Up to 10 million additional child marriages can occur before the end of the decade as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the report.
The number of children in child labor has risen to 160 million worldwide – an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years. An additional 9 million children are at risk of being pushed into child labor by the end of 2022 as a result of the increase in poverty triggered by the pandemic, UNICEF said.
For Turkey, the education of 19 million students was partially disrupted due to school closures, according to the UNICEF office in Turkey.
This academic year, children returned to face-to-face education, with over 850,000 Syrian and other refugee children having enrolled in schools.
Despite the huge progress that was made over the years, around 400,000 out of school refugee children are at heightened risk of isolation, discrimination, child labor and child marriage especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said in its press release, noting that UNICEF works closely with the Turkish and civil society partners to ensure that all children will have access to quality formal and non-formal education.
The economic constraints may push children to abandon school for child labor, said the agency.
UNICEF’s 75th anniversary is celebrated in various events in 190 countries where it operates. The UNICEF Turkey Office is marking this anniversary with a photography exhibition on “Climate Change and Children” at the Cermodern.