COVID-19 Disrupts Lives Of Over 10 Million Children In MENA Region – UN

Cameroonian refugees, including women and children gather for a meeting at Bashu-Okpambe village in Boki district of Cross Rivers State in Nigeria, on January 31, 2018. – Cameroonian forces have crossed into neighbouring Nigeria to conduct operations among citizens, where thousands of people have fled from Cameroon’s restive anglophone regions, local sources and state officials said January 31, 2018. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of tens of millions of children in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, a United Nations agency report published on Friday shows.

According to recent data and a survey by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), “the pandemic has had a compound impact on children’s wellbeing, nutrition, mental health and learning.’’

UNICEF said that with over 3 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the MENA region, COVID-19 has tremendously disrupted the lives of tens of millions of children there.

“Restrictions on movement and closure of schools had a severe impact on children’s daily routines, their social interactions, and ultimately on their mental well-being,’’ said Ted Chaiban, the UNICEF regional Director in the Middle East and North Africa.

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Chaiban warned that the longer the pandemic continued, the more the effects on children would grow.

“It is absolutely critical that we continue to seek creative solutions to counter the impact of COVID-19 and support our children with psycho-social care, blended or remote learning and social protection measures including cash transfers,’’ Chaiban added.

The pandemic has made children in the region struggle mentally and emotionally, according to UNICEF.

The agency added that due to the pandemic, the number of children living in poor households in the region could reach 60.1 million by the end of 2020, compared with 50.4 million before the emergence of the virus.

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