Report: Half of Asian children are poor

Aug. 23, 2005 at 7:23 AM

BANGKOK, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Almost half of the 1.27 billion children in Asia are living in poverty, without proper food, water, healthcare or shelter, a development agency report says.

The report "Growing up in Asia," released Monday by child welfare group Plan, says that 600 million children under the age of 18 lack access to one of these basic human needs, and more than 350 million are deprived of two or more of these needs.

The report said half of Asia's families are not benefiting from economic growth and globalization. It blamed rapid population growth; lack of access to education, healthcare, clean water and sanitation; caste discrimination; and weak governance and corruption.

"Asia has more than twice as many severely deprived children as sub-Saharan Africa. This scale of child poverty will have a serious impact on Asia's future prospects unless it is addressed now," said Michael Diamond, Asia regional director for Plan.

The report recommended that the international community cut subsidies to U.S., European and Japanese farmers and erase billions of dollars in debt. It also said richer countries could help by paying more for goods from developing countries.

Plan has pledged to spend $1 billion on poverty reduction in 12 Asian countries in the next 10 years.

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