The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday launched a fundraising campaign to support UNICEF's emergency COVID-19 response in South Asia. The campaign was launched through ICC's Cricket for Good initiative at the inaugural World Test Championship Final being played in Southampton between India and New Zealand from June 18.
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on South Asia, which is home to nearly two billion people, and more than a quarter of the world's children. The sheer scale and speed of the latest surge of COVID-19 across the region has outstripped countries' abilities to provide life-saving treatment and essential services.
The region has to date recorded more than 30 million COVID-19 cases and over 400,000 deaths. The virus has had a direct impact on children, with many more falling ill than before.
Children are losing parents and caregivers to the virus, leaving many of them vulnerable and without parental care.
"As part of its COVID-19 response, UNICEF works closely with governments and partners in the region reaching families with information and technical support on health, child protection and education, water, sanitation, and hygiene as well as support in vaccine rollout," said the ICC in a release.
"ICC's support to UNICEF at this critical time will harness the power and reach of cricket, one of the world's most popular sports, to safeguard the lives and futures of children.
"As part of the campaign, ICC will leverage its audience base on its digital channels to contribute to UNICEF."