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‘COVID-19 puts lives of 4.25m Nigerian children at risk’

By Frank Ikpefan, Abuja

Save the Children, an international Non-Governmental Organisation, has warned that the lives of 4,250,000 children are at risk in Nigeria as a result of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.

The organisation noted that COVID-19 has put decades of progress at risk for vulnerable children, with several countries likely to face severe food shortages and potential famines.

In all, about sixty million children, across eight of the biggest humanitarian countries, will need help to survive this year because they have been severely impacted negatively, Save the Children added.

The countries include: Yemen (10,935,000); Democratic Republic of Congo (10,192,000); Ethiopia (10,011,000); Afghanistan (9,700,000); Sudan (6,164,000); Syria (4,680,000); Pakistan (4,305,000) and Nigeria (4,250,000).

It noted that even before the pandemic, children were facing a triple-threat to their rights from conflict, climate change and hunger.

The organisation said we risk losing thousands – potentially tens of thousands – of children from entirely preventable causes if we delay action, adding that: “we cannot let that happen.”

In a statement by Ms. Inger Ashing, Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children, the organisation said it was particularly worried about the numbers of children at risk of acute and severe malnutrition if we fail to act now.

It noted that weak health systems were impacted by COVID-19 last year as children saw their parents or teachers being taken away to hospitals with the virus.

“Children went hungry as families were plunged into poverty because breadwinners lost their income.

“The education of more than 300 million pupils is affected by the pandemic, as many schools had to close to curb the virus, increasing the risk of child abuse, exploitation, child marriage or children dropping out of school permanently,” the statement said.

“To help tackle the biggest threat to children’s survival and other rights in living memory, Save the Children is launching a $769 million plan to reach 15.7 million people, including 9.4 million children in 37 countries.

“Save the Children is working hard to ensure that in 2021, children affected by crisis can access education and are protected from violence, exploitation, and other forms of abuse, the organisation added.

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Source: The Nation

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