As many as eight million children in Asia alone could be exposed to harm through begging, child labour and child marriage because their parents have lost their incomes and jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic, says a study.
World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, released a report today titled "Aftershocks: Out of Time" after conducting rapid assessments in 24 countries across Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
"Child protection must take centre stage as families' incomes plummet due to aftershocks of the Covid-19 outbreak," World Vision says in its findings.
An estimated 85 million families across Asia are living with little or no food stocks and 110 million children are going hungry, reads a press release.
The aid agency also warns that global predictions of increased child hunger, violence and poverty due to the economic impact of COVID-19 are already starting to come true.
Children are reporting increased isolation as families' incomes reduce – triggering stress among parents and caregivers as they cope with the impact of Covid-19, according to the report.
Chandan Gomes, Interim Director of World Vision Bangladesh, said a rapid assessment conducted in the country indicated that 87 percent of children are stressed and another 87 percent are worried due to a decrease in family income in the wake of the Covid-19 shutdown.
"Children, lactating and pregnant women are the most vulnerable as families adopt reduced meal intakes as a coping mechanism."
In the study, World Vision collected data from 14,000 households in Asia, over 2,400 small business owners in Africa, and more than 360 Venezuelan migrants across Latin America.
This community-level data confirms that projections by global agencies about the potential impact of the pandemic are already happening.
World Vision's Partnership Leader for Global Impact Norbert Hsu said, "It is often the most vulnerable families and their children who are hardest hit; those living in fragile countries already suffering from conflict, climate change, instability or displacement, and those who are relying on humanitarian assistance."
The organisation raised a global call to governments, UN agencies, donors, NGOs, and the private sector to act together to combat the deadly impacts of Covid-19 pandemic.
The actions include scaling-up child-sensitive social protection programmes; keeping food and market systems going; protecting jobs and livelihoods now; and investing in an inclusive, resilient and green economic recovery.