COVID-19 pandemic in Delhi left 32 children orphaned, says child rights commission

New Delhi: The Delhi child rights panel has identified 32 children who have been orphaned during the COVID-19 pandemic in the National Capital. Ten more children, living with single parents, have lost them, said Commission for Protection of Child Rights chief Anurag Kundu.

"Sixteen children have been identified who lost their parents during the second wave. We have been enquiring about them whether they require medical attention, ration, counselling, immunisation etc, said DCPCR member Ranjana Prasad.

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"We are providing them the help they ask for," she added. She said younger children have been given to the nearest anganwadis.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on 14 May said the Delhi government will bear the cost of education and upbringing of children who were orphaned during the pandemic.

The government has also planned to give Rs 2,500 per month to such children and the proposal is likely to come soon before the Cabinet for approval, a senior official said.

DCPCR chairman Anurag Kundu said the survey figures will be shared with the government. "We will ensure they are enrolled within a week of the notification," he said.

The panel had also started a helpline to address the needs of those children who have been left orphaned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number (+91 9311551393) also addresses the concerns of those children whose parents are hospitalised or who are facing any other distress. The helpline has received over 2,200 calls till now.

Kundu had also written to the Delhi Police chief earlier this month, drawing his attention to children orphaned by COVID-19 being offered for adoption on social media in violation of laws.

The DCPCR had come across many instances on social media (Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp), where people who had information about children orphaned by the pandemic were encouraging people to adopt them.