UNICEF: 4 million children pushed into poverty by Ukraine War

A report titled “The impact of the war in Ukraine and subsequent economic downturn on child poverty in eastern Europe” was recently released by UNICEF.

Key findings

  • The report assessed the economic impact of the Ukraine war by studying 22 countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
  • The Ukraine War and consequent inflation have driven an additional 4 million children across the region into poverty. This is a 19 per cent increase since 2021.
  • It found that 25 per cent of the population in the region is children. However, they account for nearly 40 per cent of the additional 10.4 million people who are suffering from poverty in 2022.
  • Russia has experienced the highest increase in children living in poverty, with 2.8 million more children currently living in BPL households.
  • Ukraine hosts the second-largest share of children living in poverty.
  • The sharp spike in child poverty can result in 4,500 more children losing their lives before their first birthday and 1,17,000 more children dropping out of school this year.
  • The economic crisis caused by the Ukraine war can create a risk of children facing abuse, exploitation, violence, and child marriage.
  • Childhood poverty has long-term consequences since one in three children born and raised in poverty live their adult lives in poverty, resulting in an intergenerational cycle of hardship and deprivation.
  • The issue of poverty is exacerbated by the government’s reduction in public expenditure, increased consumption of taxes, and austerity measures seeking to limit economic growth for a short period of time.
  • The report recommends various measures to mitigate the child poverty crisis:
  1. Provide universal cash benefits for children and minimum income security for vulnerable families
  2. Expand social assistance to all families with children in need, including refugees
  3. Protect social welfare initiatives, especially those targeting vulnerable children and families
  4. Protect and support the delivery of health, nutrition, and social care services to pregnant women, infants, and pre-schoolers.
  5. Regulate prices of basic food items for families.

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