Economy

Pandemic aftershocks threaten lives, livelihoods in Pacific: Report

Physical isolation minimizes pandemic's health effects in Pacific region, but causes severe economic fallout, report says

Gokhan Ergocun   | 20.10.2021
Pandemic aftershocks threaten lives, livelihoods in Pacific: Report

ISTANBUL 

The novel coronavirus pandemic and its effects threaten lives, livelihoods, and development progress made in the Pacific region over the decades, an international humanitarian aid foundation has said.

The report released earlier this week by World Vision, titled Pacific Aftershock, found that the "human cost of the severe economic recession that has befallen the broader Pacific region since the pandemic" laid bare the region's vulnerability to "future shocks, stresses, and uncertainties."

The foundation surveyed 725 households in Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, and Vanuatu.

Noting that the health impacts of the pandemic are well known, the report stressed that managing these must not be at the expense of addressing the secondary and ongoing impacts on lives and livelihoods.

While physical isolation of the Pacific islands minimized the pandemic's health effects in the region, it also caused severe economic fallout, it underlined.

The report said that around 60% of households have lost jobs or income, or resorted to alternative sources of income, while 20% of households skip or choose cheaper meals.

It said that 14% of families had sent their children to work to make up for lost income, adding that violence against children was increasing, with "80% of parents or caregivers using physical punishment and/or psychological aggression against their children during this period of increased stress."

The report also stressed that access to healthcare services had suffered since the start of the pandemic.

Underlining that no single country could solve problems alone in the region, the report urged the Pacific region's governments to work together.

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