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UNICEF: Poverty Hits Children Hard in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Despite Economic Growth - 2004-10-13

A new report by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) says millions of children in Eastern Europe and Central Asia still live in poverty, despite economic progress across the regions.

UNICEF says its findings indicate economic growth alone does not necessarily improve the lives of children.

At Wednesday's unveiling of the report in Moscow, UNICEF director Carol Bellamy said poverty leads to poor nutrition and sick children, as well as young people not being able to attend school. She said, at worst, it also "means violence and desperation, with more children in institutions," plus "soaring drug and alcohol abuse among the young."

The report laments that economic growth in the regions has rarely been accompanied by initiatives to tackle serious problems affecting children.