Cuba Enters the UNICEF Report on Severe Child Poverty

Thirty-three percent of children under five years of age in Cuba suffer from moderate poverty / 14ymedio

14ymedio bigger14ymedio/EFE, Madrid, 6 June 2024 — The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has included Cuba for the first time in its report on severe child poverty. The text, published on Wednesday, indicates that 9% of the island’s child population suffers from severe poverty; that is, they have a maximum of two of the eight foods considered necessary for a healthy life. In addition, it points out that 33% of minors (considered up to five years old) suffer from moderate poverty, which means that they have at their disposal between three and four of those foods.

Cuba did not appear in the institution’s 2022 report on the same issue. In 2021, as stated in one of the graphs, it was below 5%, the limit set by Unicef to consider the existence of serious child poverty.

These data join others from different organizations, demonstrating the resounding fall of the country in all tables of prosperity. Last February, it was announced that Cuba fell 30 places in the UN Human Development Index (HDI) in just 15 years, surpassing the figures of the Special Period and destroying the traditional propaganda of the regime.

In its report this Wednesday, UNICEF records that one in four children under the age of five in the world – about 181 million – suffers from severe food poverty. This increases their chances of “emaciation” by up to 50%, a form of malnutrition that endangers their lives.

One in four children under the age of five in the world – about 181 million – suffers from severe food poverty

Of the total, 65% reside in only 20 countries; about 64 million children are in South Asia and 59 million in sub-Saharan Africa. In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, where Cuba is counted, 9% of minors suffer from severe poverty (a total of 5 million) and 28% from moderate poverty (18 million).

In the East Asia-Pacific region – China, Indonesia, Burma and the Philippines – there are 59 million children suffering from food poverty.

The text analyzes the impacts and causes of food deprivation among the youngest in the world in almost 100 countries and in all income groups. It warns that millions of children under the age of five cannot access or consume a nutritious and diverse diet to maintain optimal growth and development in early childhood and in later stages.

Four out of five children in this situation are fed only with breast milk/milk and/or a staple food with starch, such as rice, corn or wheat. Fewer than 10% of these minors eat fruits and vegetables, and fewer than 5% eat nutrient-rich foods such as eggs, fish, poultry or meat.

“Children who live in a situation of severe food poverty are children who live on the edge of the abyss. At the moment, that is the reality for millions of children, and this can have an irreversible negative impact on their survival, growth and brain development,” said the Executive Director of Unicef, Catherine Russell, in statements collected by EFE.

The report also warns that, although countries are still recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of growing inequalities, conflicts and the climate crisis have raised food prices and the cost of living to record levels.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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