A latest report by the United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF) has warned that about 60 per cent of internally displaced children under the age of five in Nigeria are among the world’s most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the report titled: “Lost at home,” it observed that hundreds of thousands of children in Nigeria’s north-east are living in the shadow of conflict and global pandemic.
The report which was made available to the Daily Times on Tuesday, called on governments and partners to ensure the children are safe, healthy, learning and protected.
It said that the COVID-19 pandemic is making a critical situation for displaced children and families around the world even worse.
“They often live in overcrowded camps or informal settlements, where access to basic hygiene and health services is limited, and where physical distancing is not possible.
“This is true in Nigeria’s north-east, where conditions pose a particular challenge to containing the possible spread of diseases like COVID-19.
“Internally displaced children around the world often lack access to basic services and are at risk of exposure to violence, exploitation, abuse and trafficking,” the report said.
Meanwhile, the UNICEF Representative, Peter Hawkins lamented that hundreds of thousands of children in the north-east 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 starker.
“We must urgently work together all of us, government and humanitarian partners to keep them safe, healthy, learning and protected.
“What we really need now are strategic investments and a united effort from government, civil society, private sector, humanitarian actors and children themselves to find solutions that can protect children from the effects of displacement, especially as we face the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Also, assist to address and help mitigate the longer term impacts this can have on children’s health and education,” Hawkins added.