The lives of about 4.59 lakh children and mothers in South Asian countries are in danger as they are deprived of vital health services due to the coronavirus pandemic, says a Unicef report.
Quoting a recent research of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the UN agency in a press release said in the worst-case scenario, Bangladesh could see the additional deaths of 28,000 children in the next six months due to the disruption of immunisation, nutrition and other vital health services.
The report -- Lives Upended --- has described how the novel coronavirus and the measures taken to curb it are having immediate and long-term consequences on 600 million children in the region.
"The side-effects of the pandemic across South Asia, including lockdown and other measures, have been damaging for children in numerous ways," said Jean Gough, Unicef Regional Director for South Asia.
"But the longer-term impact of the economic crisis on children will be on a different scale entirely. Without urgent action now, Covid-19 could destroy the hopes and futures of an entire generation."
Highlighting the growing food insecurity, Unicef says in Bangladesh, some of the poorest families are unable to afford three meals a day.
The report points out that about half a billion people in South Asia have already been categorised as food insecure.
In the worst-case scenario, the number of South Asian children living in poverty could grow to more than 360 million within six months, it added.