UNICEF concerned over displaced children amid COVID-19

Image UNICEF/UNI317998/Choufany
Image UNICEF/UNI317998/Choufany

The UNICEF has called for urgent actions to protect the internally displaced children as they are among the world’s most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While introducing a latest report by UNICEF, Peter Hawkins, UNICEF representative in Nigeria, told media in Abuja that hundreds of thousands of children in northeast Nigeria are living in the shadow of conflict and now in the increasingly challenging shadow of a global pandemic and its potential socio-economic aftermath.

“When a new crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic emerges, displaced children are especially vulnerable and the gaps in our ability to keep them safe are even more stark. We must urgently work together – all of us, government and humanitarian partners – to keep them safe, healthy, learning and protected,” Hawkins said.

According to the UNICEF report titled “Lost at Home”, at the end of 2019, an estimated 46 million people were internally displaced by conflict and violence across the world. About 19 million were children.

There are currently 1.9 million people displaced from their homes in restive northeast Nigeria, with 60 percent of them are children, said the report.

The report continued that with crowded living quarters, limited to clean water and sanitation and cutting off from public health messages, internally displaced people are facing high risk of rapid spread of COVID-19.

Hawkins said looking at the risks and challenges facing internally displaced children, urgent actions from government, civil society, private sector and humanitarian actors are needed to protect them.