Cruel crisis for children, ‘warning story’ for South Asia – Global issues

The warning from the United Nations Children’s Fund comes as Sri Lanka continues to fall into its worst financial slump since independence in 1948.

Mr. Laryea-Adjei reports that, “Families are skipping regular meals as staples become unsustainable. The kids are going to bed hungry, not sure where their next meal will come from.”

Mass food insecurity will only fuel malnutrition, poverty, disease and death in the region, he added.

Increased food insecurity has exacerbated social problems that are plaguing the nation. The UN estimates that half of the children in Sri Lanka already need some form of emergency assistance.

Education, a sector hit by the economic crisis, has seen student enrollments drop and resources short, and travel has become dangerous due to infrastructure. backward.

Increasing abuse

Mr. Laryea-Adjei further revealed that, “reports have emerged of an increase in abuse, exploitation and violence against children due to increasing economic pressures.”

Similarly, in Sri Lanka, more than 10,000 children are cared for in facilities, mainly due to poverty. These facilities do not provide the vital family support needed for early childhood development.

Unfortunately, the current crisis is prompting more and more families to place their children in educational institutions, as they are no longer able to care for them.

Progress ‘permanently deleted’

“If current trends continue, the hard-earned progress of children in Sri Lanka is at risk of being reversed and, in some cases, wiped out forever,” said Mr. Laryea-Adjei. – Adjei said.

UNICEF has been operating in Sri Lanka for more than 50 years. With the support of global partners, UNICEF has distributed educational supplies, provided meals to pre-school children, and delivered cash to pregnant and lactating mothers.

However, the current economic crisis has exposed the vulnerability of Sri Lanka’s social infrastructure, he noted.

George Laryea-Adjei, South Asia Regional Manager (right) visits a family home in Watawala, Sri Lanka.

© UNICEF / Chameera Laknath

George Laryea-Adjei, South Asia Regional Manager (right) visits a family home in Watawala, Sri Lanka.

Solutions for children

Reflecting further on the steps UNICEF needs to take to help the children of Sri Lanka affected by the economic crisis, Mr. Laryea-Adjei said, “Children need to be at the heart of the solution when it comes to children. The country is trying to solve the crisis.

“Continued learning must be ensured for girls and boys of all ages, so that they can prepare for their future and be protected from the threats of child labour, exploitation and exploitation. exploitation and gender-based violence. Central health and primary health services must be prioritized, to protect women and children against life-threatening diseases and malnutrition.

If actions are not taken immediately to protect children from the worst effects of the global recession, vulnerable children will sink deeper into poverty – and their health, Their nutrition, learning and safety are affected.

Therefore, the international community should prioritize investing in the resilience of local communities as a bulwark against the crisis. UNICEF says Sri Lanka’s state of emergency is a warning to other South Asian countries about the risk of being unprepared for economic hardship.

Laryea-Adjei concludes, “we cannot let children pay for crises not of their own making. We must act today to secure their future tomorrow.”

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