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Abject Penury

A survey had revealed in 2019 that one out of every six children in this world, precisely 356 million, live in extreme poverty. Then, the COVID-19 Pandemic rocked the whole world. Meanwhile, a recent study by the World Bank (WB) Group and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has claimed that the situation has deteriorated further, as more children are on the threshold of being extremely poor due to the pandemic.

In the latest study report titled ‘Global Estimate of Children in Monetary Poverty: An Update‘, the WB and the UNICEF stated that two-thirds of children have a per capita income of USD 1.90 a day or less in sub-Saharan Africa… The situation is comparatively better in South Asia, where one in five children is in misery…

As per the report, the number of financially dependent children had decreased significantly from 2013 to 2017. The financial situation of at least 290 million children had improved somewhat in those four years. However, the months-long Lockdown has a great impact on the World Economy. Poverty amongst children, too, has increased, considerably. In some places, the situation is worse than before. About 20% of these children are under the age of five, and majority of them are residents of Developing Nations!

UNICEF Director of Programmes Sanjay Wijesekera stressed: “One in six children living in extreme poverty is one in six children struggling to survive. These numbers alone should shock anyone. And the scale and depth of what we know about the financial hardships brought on by the pandemic are only set to make matters far worse.” He also said: “Governments urgently need a children’s recovery plan to prevent countless more children and their families from reaching levels of poverty unseen for many, many years.

Meanwhile, Europe is gearing up for a fresh Lockdown, yet again. Different European Governments are trying hard to keep the economy steady. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed that nearly 972,000 people have been tested COVID-19 positive in Europe in the last seven days. While confirmed infection cases have increased in Europe by at least 25%, about 36% of the fresh global infections have been recorded in this continent. More than half of those infected are Russians, Czechs and Italians. The infection has increased by 150% in small countries, like Slovenia, in recent times.

Britain is at the forefront in Europe, as far as infections and deaths are concerned. While 76.2 million people have got infected in Britain, the Coronavirus has claimed 43,967 lives, there. The Boris Johnson Government has announced a month-long Lockdown, as the second wave of infection has rocked Europe. However, the Britons are not ready to stay at home. People have started staging anti-Government protests in northern part of the country immediately after strict COVID-laws have been imposed in Greater Manchester and in South Yorkshire. The Labour Party mayor of Greater Manchester, who has been informed about the new restrictions by the concerned authorities, is highly offended. The mayor has informed the media that he received a financial assistance of just GBP 22 million from the Johnson Administration, and the amount was not sufficient to revive the local economy. The Germans, too, are staging anti-Government protests over the COVID-19 crackdown…

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