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UNICEF Aiding British Children Amid Pandemic

FILE - A UNICEF logo is pictured outside the organization's offices in Geneva, Switzerland.

UNICEF UK, for the first time in its 70-year history, is giving food assistance to Britain’s children whose families have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

A little more than $1 million will be distributed to 30 organizations.

UNICEF UK’s action has angered a British politician, accusing the United Nations Children’s Fund of playing a “political stunt.”

Tory minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said Thursday in the Commons: “I think it’s a real scandal that UNICEF should be playing politics in this way when it is meant to be looking after people in the poorest, the most deprived countries in the world, where people are starving, where there are famines and there are civil wars ... It is a political stunt of the lowest order.”

Not all politicians agreed with Rees-Mogg. Ed Davey, the Liberal Democratic Leader, called Rees-Mogg's comments “abhorrent – a modern-day version of ‘let them eat cake.’”

“The only scandal here is this rotten Tory government leaving 4.2 million children living in poverty,” said Angela Rayner, Labor’s deputy leader.

UNICEF UK said in a statement that an estimated 2.4 million British children were already food insecure before the pandemic.

French President Emmanuel Macron has joined the list of world leaders who has tested positive for the coronavirus. Macron has left Elysée Palace and is temporarily working at an official residence in Versailles.

FILE - The World Health Organization's regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge.
FILE - The World Health Organization's regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge.

Dr. Hans Kluge, the regional director of the World Health Organization’s European office, has urged people to stay home during the holidays. He said in a statement that it is “not worth the risk” of contracting the virus.

Kluge also said the pandemic has created a “growing mental health crisis in Europe.” He added, “From anxieties around virus transmission, the psychological impact of lockdowns and self-isolation, to the effects of unemployment, financial worries and social exclusion – the mental health impact of the pandemic will be long term and far reaching.”

There are more than 75 million global COVID-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The United States has 17.2 million cases, followed by India with almost 10 million and Brazil with 7.1 million cases.