The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that millions of children in the Middle East will become impoverished as their caregivers lose jobs due to general isolation aimed at stopping the outbreak of the Coronavirus across the region.
Ted Chaiban, UNICEF’s regional director in the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement issued on Monday from Amman that children make up nearly half of an estimated eight million people will be affected by the loss of about 1.7 million jobs this year as companies close and salaries suspended.
He added: “It is clear that the pandemic affects children directly, as many families in the region have become poorer due to job losses, especially income from daily work.”
“Families are struggling to bring food to their table due to containment measures,” he added.
The organization said that approximately 110 million children in the area are currently staying in their homes and not attending school.
UNICEF estimates that 25 million children are at risk, including refugees and displaced persons, due to conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Palestine, Iraq and Libya.
Humanitarian agencies and NGOs say curfews and lockdowns are already making it difficult or impossible for many to provide for their families.
The organization has requested $ 92 million to be able to reinforce its efforts to combat Covid-19 disease, caused by the Coronavirus.
Millions already lack health care, food, water and electricity in conflict-stricken countries where prices are rising and infrastructure damaged, UN and humanitarian agencies say.
“The combination of lack or inadequate basic services, years of conflict in several parts of the region, poverty, deprivation and now COVID-19 are hitting vulnerable children the most, making their hard lives simply unbearable,” Chaiban said.