COVID-19: We must do more and act faster to reach all children and families in need
Statement attributable to Thomas Davin, UNICEF Representative for Thailand
BANGKOK, 30 April 2020 – “UNICEF is deeply concerned about the unprecedented and devastating impact that families and children, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, are facing due to COVID-19 crisis.
“Each day, we see more and more lives shattered. People are losing their jobs and scrambling to make ends meet. Parents are struggling to feed their children and keep a roof over their family’s heads. Hopes for a bright future are fading away.
“We are particularly concerned by the news that many people have taken their own lives due to desperation caused by COVID-19 crisis, including a mother who was no longer able to feed her children, and a father who couldn’t make ends meet to care for his daughter. It is truly heartbreaking to learn that many people have recently taken their own lives, with no safety net to fall on, no one to lean on.
“Our thoughts go out to those who have lost their lives and their families. No child, nor any parent, caregiver or anyone, young or old, should have to feel so desperate and alone with nowhere to go and no one to turn to. We should not live in a situation where people are not confident that they will be able to buy food and basic necessities. This is a wake-up call for the entire society. Immediate assistance must reach every child and family in need before it is too late. We need to do more, and much faster.
“UNICEF, in partnership with UN agencies, is working closely with the Royal Thai Government to strengthen social protection schemes that reach the most vulnerable. Increasing cash amount for existing social protection schemes such as the child support grant and disability grant can provide timely support as the systems to identify vulnerable families and disburse payments are already in place. We must also be careful not to exclude children and families that need support – now is the time to seriously move toward expanding coverage and ensuring access to social protection and health care for all children.
“Yet we know that such schemes will not immediately reach all families in need. In the meantime, we must rely on the goodwill and the generosity of the Thai people and private companies to create effective response systems that can fill this tremendously crucial gap in the safety net systems, complementing government support. It is time for the government, private and civil society systems to be stronger, to ensure adequate and timely support reaches those most affected by this crisis.
“UNICEF calls upon everyone in Thailand including the government, civil society, the private sector, influencers, and each individual to do more in contributing their resources, knowledge and skills to help the poorest and most vulnerable. This is an unprecedented emergency and only by joining forces, and everyone who can contribute doing their part, can Thailand overcome this crisis with no child and no one left behind.”
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