World's children bearing brunt of COVID pandemic, Vatican studies say

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By Reuters
World's children bearing brunt of COVID pandemic, Vatican studies say
World's children bearing brunt of COVID pandemic, Vatican studies say   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p>By Philip Pullella</p> <p><span class="caps">VATICAN</span> <span class="caps">CITY</span> – The world’s children are bearing the brunt of the <span class="caps">COVID</span>-19 pandemic, with marked increases in violence, abuse, child labour, lost schooling, and malnutrition, two Vatican studies said on Wednesday.</p> <p>The studies, based on academic, scientific, United Nations data and other source material, were produced by the Vatican’s development office and the Pontifical Academy for Life.</p> <p>“Reports of violence, abuse, and exploitation of children have sharply increased since the pandemic began. Poorer communities disproportionately bear these adversities,” one of the studies said.</p> <p>They said that as of September, more than five million children were estimated to have lost a parent, custodial grandparent or secondary caregiver to the pandemic. This translated to a child losing a parent or caregiver every 12 seconds.</p> <p>The pandemic reversed an encouraging trend in poverty reduction, plunging 150 million more children into poverty and increasing the number of children in child labour to 160 million.</p> <p>Rising food insecurity led to between six and seven million new cases of acute malnutrition in children under five, translating to about 10,000 deaths a month in 2020, 80 percent of them in South Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa.</p> <p>Child malnutrition was also increased by the loss of some 39 billion school meals, which even in some developed countries are the only good meal they receive.</p> <p>The rate of dropping out of school was increasing significantly in the global south and an estimated 10 million children worldwide may never return to school.</p> <p>Child marriages were increasing as the poorest of families sought to relieve financial pressures.</p> <p>The studies called for the equitable distribution of <span class="caps">COVID</span> vaccines, which Pope Francis has championed, more government spending on children, and keeping schools open as much as possible.</p> <p/> </div>