One in four children in the Arab world live in poverty, often deprived of life's most basic necessities such as proper housing or safe water, according to a study released on Monday by the U.N. children's agency UNICEF. The analysis of 11 countries including Egypt, Iraq, Morocco and Yemen found 29 million children were living in poverty.
These children are deprived of the minimum requirements in two or more of the most basic life necessities including basic education, decent housing, nutritious food, quality health care, safe water, sanitation and access to information.
“Child poverty is about so much more than family income – it’s about access to quality education, healthcare, a home and safe water. When children are deprived of the basics, they are at risk of getting trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
The study’s key findings include: • Lack of education was found to be one of the key drivers of inequality and poverty for children. Children who live in households that are headed by an uneducated family member are twice as likely to live in poverty. One quarter of children aged 5 to 17 are not enrolled in school or have fallen two grades behind. • Almost half of all children live in inadequate housing with poor flooring and overcrowding. • Almost half of all children are not fully immunized or were born to mothers who did not get enough antenatal care or birth assistance. • One in five children are forced to walk more than 30 minutes to fetch water or use unsafe drinking water. More than one third of children live in homes with no tap water.