The war in Ukraine and rising inflation have pushed an additional four million children across eastern Europe and Central Asia into poverty.
The United Nations Children’s agency UNICEF said in a report released on Monday.
The figure, representing a 19 per cent increase since 2021, showed that children were “bearing the heaviest burden” of the conflict, UNICEF said.
The study includes data from 22 countries in the region. The impact of the war has been particularly severe for children in Russia and Ukraine.
In Russia, an additional 2.8 million children live in households below the poverty line, according to the study.
In Ukraine, half a million additional children were living in poverty, followed by Romania with an additional 110,000 children.
The UNICEF warned that sharp increase could result in an additional 4,500 children dying before their first birthdays.
Regional director for Europe and Central Asia Afshan Khan said the economic consequences of the war were having a devastating impact on children.
“Children all over the region are being swept up in this war’s terrible wake. “If we don’t support these children and families now, the steep rise in child poverty will almost certainly result in lost lives, lost learning, and lost futures.”
One in three children born and raised in poverty will live their adult lives in poverty, leading to an intergenerational cycle of hardship and deprivation, the study noted.
“We have to protect and expand social support for vulnerable families before the situation gets any worse,” Khan said.