UNICEF: A generation of children “at risk” in the Lebanese crisis | UNICEF Poverty Alleviation and Development News

The United Nations said that between April and October, the proportion of Lebanese families sending their children to work increased sevenfold.

The UN Children’s Agency, after recording a surge in child labor and food insecurity since April, called on Lebanon to take urgent action to protect children.

A report released by the United Nations Children’s Fund on Tuesday stated that the global coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the country’s severe economic crisis, and children have been hit hard. The global coronavirus pandemic has plunged about eight in ten people into poverty and threatened Education for approximately 700,000 children including 260,000 Lebanese.

Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF’s representative in Lebanon, said on Tuesday: “Urgent action is needed to ensure that no children go hungry, get sick or have to work instead of receiving education.”

“The alarming scale of this crisis must be a wake-up call.”

The UN agency added that this multifaceted crisis, rooted in decades of corruption and mismanagement, has disrupted the provision of basic services such as electricity and water.

According to the report, by October, nearly half of households had insufficient drinking water, and one-third of households cited cost as the main factor.

The UNICEF report also pointed out that less than three-tenths of families receive social assistance, leading them to take “desperate measures.”

According to the report, between April and October, the proportion of Lebanese families sending their children to work increased sevenfold to 7%.

Lebanon is struggling to deal with the worst financial crisis in history. It is estimated that nearly 80% of the population lives below the poverty line.

In October, UNICEF followed up with more than 800 families surveyed in April and found that living conditions have deteriorated sharply since then.

The report said: “The future of an entire generation of children is at stake.”

‘Suicidal thoughts’

The survey found that in October, 53% of households had at least one child skipping meals, compared with 37% in April.

UNICEF added: “The percentage of families sending their children to work has risen from 9% to 12%.”

Nearly 34% of children in need of primary care in October did not receive it, up from 28% in April.

UNICEF quoted 29-year-old mother Hanan as saying: “Life is very difficult, and it is getting harder every day.”

“Today, I sent my four children to school without food. I have suicidal thoughts. The only thing that prevents me from doing this is my children. I feel sorry for them.”

Amal, 15 years old, works as a fruit picker in southern Lebanon. She said she had to accept the job to support her family.

“Our parents need the money we earn. If we stop working now, what will they do?” she was quoted as saying.

“As I look into the future, I see that life is getting harder and harder.”

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