Wired-GOV Newswire (news from other organisations)
|Printable version||E-mail this to a friend|
Unicef - In Zimbabwe, a sharp rise in children needing assistance as El Niño bites
The 2015-2016 El Niño has devastated crops and decimated livestock in Zimbabwe, however its toll on children and their well-being is only now beginning to be felt.
In a sign of increasing stress among children, data from the Unicef supported Child Protection Fund, which tracks welfare and protection needs among poor and vulnerable children, is showing a sharp rise in children needing welfare assistance in 2016 compared to 2015. Welfare assistance includes children reporting health problems, requiring educational or school assistance, or being in need of emotional and social support.
Among the main findings:
- 20,000 children needed welfare assistance between January and July 2016 compared to 11,000 in the whole of 2015;
- Slightly more than 2,000 children reported health problems in the first six months of 2016 compared to 400 in the whole of 2015. This number includes children who have defaulted on their anti-retroviral therapy for HIV due to an inability to take medication due to hunger;
- About 6,000 children needed emotional and social support in the first six months of 2016, compared to 8,000 in the whole of 2015. The upsurge started in October 2015 with the onset of the drought and indicates an increase in drought-related psychosocial stress;
- The greatest rise was in the education category, where 12,000 children reported needing school-related assistance in the first six months of 2016 compared to 2,000 in the whole of 2015.
“With the failure of crops, families face the grim choice of spending their little money on food or buying books and paying school fees,” says Unicef Deputy Representative in Zimbabwe Dr. Jane Muita. “They will always choose food. But these are hard choices no family should have to make and we worry about the long-term developmental effects the drought will have on affected children.”
Many of the 20,000 children owe schools thousands of US dollars in unpaid fees. Although official government policy is not to chase the children away, some children have dropped out of school entirely, or have had their school reports withheld.
While this upsurge in numbers can be partially attributed to a better identification and reporting system, the ongoing drought has left increasing numbers of children in desperate need of help. Unicef’s NGO partners are reporting an increase in young girls dropping out of school to engage in sex for money and teenage boys engaging in illegal mining.
In some areas in the south of the country, parents are migrating to neighbouring countries in search of livelihoods, leaving their children in the care of the oldest sibling or their grandparents. The case management system is showing an increase in sexual abuse and exploitation, neglect, physical and emotional abuse, and child labour, with 7,000 cases reported in the first half of 2016 alone, compared to 3,000 in 2015.
Zimbabwe, along with other countries in southern Africa, is in the throes of a drought that has devastated crops and livestock, dried up sources of livelihoods, including water, and left an estimated 4 million people, including 1.9 million children, in need of assistance. An estimated 90,000 children will require treatment for malnutrition.
Together with the government and NGO partners, Unicef is treating children for malnutrition, providing safe water, supplying health facilities with medications for the treatment of diarrhoea, providing social cash transfers to poor households, and ensuring that vulnerable children receive protection support. These efforts are complementing the government’s drought relief assistance programme which is providing grain to affected households.
So far, out of Unicef’s current funding appeal of USD 21.8 million for Zimbabwe, USD 3.1 million has been mobilized.
Notes for editors:
For further information please contact the Unicef UK Press Office on +44 (0)20 7375 6030 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children. As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk
Latest News from
Wired-GOV Newswire (news from other organisations)
CBI: Retail sales rebound slightly in the year to February25/02/2017 07:10:00
Retail sales volumes grew modestly in the year to February, having fallen in January, according to the latest CBI quarterly Distributive Trades Survey.
TUC criticises plan to stop injured workers reclaiming legal costs24/02/2017 15:20:00
The TUC has yesterday (Thursday) criticised plans to stop injured workers from reclaiming their legal costs in cases where claims are worth under £2,000.
TUC: Workers in the UK put in £33.6bn worth of unpaid overtime a year24/02/2017 13:10:00
UK workers gave their employers £33.6 billion of free labour last year by doing unpaid overtime, according to new analysis of official statistics published today (Friday) by the TUC.
CBI: It's time for plain speaking on immigration24/02/2017 11:42:00
As the UK leaves the EU, there will be trade-offs to make when it comes to designing a new immigration system, writes CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn in The Telegraph.
Unicef - All parties at Geneva talks must put Syria’s children first24/02/2017 11:40:00
Geert Cappelaere, Unicef’s Regional Director, said: “The heart-wrenching image of a young boy screaming for his father just minutes after losing both his legs in an apparent assault in Idlib last week is another brutal reminder that children continue to come under attack in Syria’s conflict.