A new report from UNICEF Argentina estimates that more than eight million children and adolescents in the country will be living in poverty by the end of the year.
The UN body’s local office warned that due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, child poverty would reach 62.9 percent by the end of 2020. Extreme poverty among kids and teenagers would rise to 18.7 percent, it added.
UNICEF’s forecast would mean an extra 1.3 million boys and girls had slipped below the poverty line between December 2019 and December 2020, rising from seven million last year to 8.3 million by the end of the year.
The UN body said that 10 percent of surveyed households said they visited a soup kitchen, with 36 percent using the government’s Tarjeta Alimentar card, a steep rise on 19 percent back in April.
UNICEF’s representative in Argentina, Luisa Brumana, highlighted that the government’s Emergency Family Income (IFE) payment was now reaching 47 percent of households, compared to 22 percent who initially received it in April.
"There are 13 million people living in 2.8 million homes, where at least one member receives the IFE [payment]," she said.
Brumana called for the continuation of social welfare programmes, which she said were “key in preventing more households from falling into extreme poverty."
"Efforts must be redoubled, so that no vulnerable family is left out," she added.
The UN agency for children forecasts that 2.6 million households have had their working income reduced as a result of Covid-19 and the lockdown measures taken to halt the spread of the virus.
"Coronavirus affects the lives of boys and girls from all walks of life, but for poorer families the impact is much greater," said Sebastián Waisgrais, a social inclusion specialist with UNICEF.
This is UNICEF’s second survey looking at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on families in Argentina since the virus crisis began. Representative of all households with children and adolescents in the country, experts compared numbers from a previous survey conducted in April.
UNICEF’s calculations are based on economic forecasts from the International Monetary Fund and official government data from the INDEC national statistics bureau.
The IMF predicts a contraction for Argentina’s economy of 9.9 percent this year, though recent Central Bank surveys of economists forecast a steeper fall.