The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) warned this Friday, November 20, 2020 against the long-term repercussions of the pandemic on the lives of a whole generation of minors and asked Ecuador to avoid irreversible damage in multiple areas.
On the occasion of World Children’s Day, Unicef in the Andean country warned in a statement that the pandemic could have non-return effects on education, health, nutrition and the child welfare.
“Throughout the covid-19 pandemic, the lingering myth has emerged that children are hardly affected by the disease. Nothing could be further from the truth, ”said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
The United Nations Fund says basic service disruptions and rising poverty pose the greatest threat to children and adolescents around the world, and the longer the crisis persists, the deeper its consequences.
In this context, he warns, the panorama in Ecuador is no different, since the closure of educational centers affected 4.5 million children and adolescents.
According to a Unicef survey, 62% of students aged 10 to 19 consider that they have learned less since the schools closed.
The health emergency could also worsen the malnutrition situation in the country which, before the pandemic, affected one in four children under 5 (23%), according to an official survey.
At the same time, households in extreme poverty due to lack of income can barely cover 29% of the cost of the basic food basket and 2.3 million people could face food insecurity.
UNICEF says 150,000 households do not have facilities for washing their hands with soap and water and estimates that 3.1 million minors will fall into multidimensional poverty by the end of this year.
65% of cases of sexual abuse of minors were committed by relatives or people around them before the pandemic, and 3 in 10 children and adolescents received disciplinary beatings in their homes, a situation that agencies are warning could get worse during the pandemic.
Faced with this situation, Unicef urges governments, the private sector, social organizations and society in general to ensure that minors can continue to learn, reduce the digital divide and promote their rapid return to the classroom. optimal security conditions.
They also demand that the continuity of essential health and nutrition services be guaranteed, the mental health of children protected and an end to the abandonment and abuse of gender-based violence.
The organization calls on the authorities to expand access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene and to combat environmental degradation, as well as promote an inclusive recovery that prevents the increase. child poverty.
Finally, Unicef stresses the need to redouble efforts to protect children in situations of conflict, disaster and displacement.
LEARN MORE ABOUT HEALTH EMERGENCY
Map of infected people
Nearly 3 million children at risk of not returning to school in Latin America UNICEF urges US $ 2.6 billion investment in Ecuador to save minors