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Millions of children in India, at risk of poverty and hunger due to the Covid crisis

Millions of children in India are at risk of poverty and hunger due to the crisis that has unleashed the second wave of Covid-19, according to children’s NGOs.

“As the crisis in India continues uncontrollably, its impact on children is becoming more serious. The closures are necessary to control the spread of the virus, but the control measures have inevitable consequences, which will have a lasting impact on the children and families, dragging millions of them into poverty “, says the executive director of Save the Children in India, Sudarshan Suchi.

As the NGO recalls, an investigation published last month showed that India’s poverty rate could increase to almost 7% if strict control measures were introduced, such as those that have now been taken in light of the number of deaths in the country. , which has already exceeded 200,000 this week.

The organization points out that, although children have a lower risk of contracting Covid-19, they are not immune to the consequences, since “their families, teachers and community leaders can fall ill and they would not have anyone to take care of them. they”.

In addition, Save the Children fears that, due to the impact of Covid-19 on the health of the population and the economy, the food shortage that already affected 189 million people could increase even more.

It also warns that ill children may not receive the treatment they need because hospitals are “overwhelmed” by Covid-19 cases or that children may be forced to leave school and go to work. to help the family economy during the crisis.

Save the Children is working in partnership with Indian government ministries to respond to the crisis by raising awareness about prevention, control measures and vaccines, and is also working to protect children from exploitation, child labor and child marriage.

The organization plans to intensify its health programs to provide urgent medical support, such as quarantine centers, ambulances, food and psychosocial support for children.

For its part, Plan International warns that many families have exhausted their savings after five months of confinement and have lost their means of subsistence and their jobs.

In addition, it points out that millions of children, and especially girls and adolescents, are “more exposed” not only to hunger, but also to school dropouts and the lack of security and protection, which could lead to an increase in violence, abuse, child marriage and teenage pregnancies.

“In India, as in many other countries in the world, the second wave of the pandemic is being even worse than the first. India is a key crossing point in the region, so it is essential to act immediately to mitigate the consequences of this emergency and prevent the health crisis from spreading even further to neighboring countries. If the vaccination process in lower income countries is not accelerated, we will leave millions of people in extreme situations “, explains the head of international programs of Plan International, Elspeth Chapman.

Plan International has launched the #HELPINDIAHEAL campaign with the aim of raising 10 million euros to urgently support some 200,000 affected families over the next three months and prevent the crisis from spreading to the entire continent.

The organization will distribute oxygen respirators to 500 health centers; food baskets to the neediest families; personal protective equipment (PPE), masks, gloves and other protective materials to 100,000 front-line workers. In addition, it will install 20 Temporary Care Centers to care for Covid-19 patients and to facilitate access to care, treatment and nutrition to 10,000 patients from poor communities.

On the other hand, Plan International will carry out a massive awareness campaign to reach around one million families in 1,800 communities where the organization is present.

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