71 million more people are affected by poverty

As a result of increased food and energy prices, up to 71 million more people are said to be living in poverty. Those prices rose in the weeks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in a recent report.

The UNDP estimates that in the first three months after the war, another 51.6 million people may have fallen below the poverty line, defined as living on $1.90 a day or less.

Another 20 million people fell below the poverty line of $3.20 a day.

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said at the presentation of the report: “The cost of living A hit is almost unprecedented in a generation… and that’s why it’s so serious.”

Precedent means a similar event that happened at an earlier point in time.

The speed at which so many people experienced poverty exceeded the economic pain felt during the worst part of the pandemic.

The UNDP found that 125 million additional people were affected by poverty during about 18 months during lockdowns and closures. By comparison, around 71 million fell into poverty in just three months after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

“It’s happening very quickly,” said George Molina, UNDP chief economist and author of the report.

The countries hardest hit by inflation include Haiti, Argentina, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey and the Philippines. Rwanda, Sudan, Ghana, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan also belong to the group.

More people in these countries, some of which have faced political troubles like Sudan and Sri Lanka, face poverty, UNDP found.

In countries like Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria and Yemen, the impact of inflation is felt severely for those already living at the lowest poverty line.

In Ghana, where the daily minimum wage is $1.80 a day, people are struggling under the weight of inflation. Albert Kowfie, a 27-year-old security officer in Accra, Ghana, said a loaf of bread costs over $2 and a ride to work another 20 cents.

“That means by the end of the first week it’s all gone,” he said.

put it politely frustration to the government for not doing more to deal with the problem. “I no longer answer my mother’s calls because I know she needs help as she doesn’t have one Pensionbut what can I do?”

Another UN report released on Wednesday says world hunger has risen over the past year, with 2.3 billion people facing moderate or severe difficulty eating enough – and that was before the war in Ukraine.

UNDP’s Steiner said the world economy needs to pick up. There is enough wealth in the world to overcome the crisis, he argues.

“But,” he said, “our ability to act harmony and fast is a Obligation.”

The UNDP advises governments to spend more to reach the most affected people through targeted direct payments to them. These payments are known as cash transfers.

In order for developing countries to make such remittances, UNDP called for an extension of debt payments that had existed among the world’s wealthiest nations during the pandemic.

I’m John Russell.

Aya Batrawy covered this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted this story for VOA Learning English.

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words in this story

A hit – n. a strong or large influence or effect

frustration – n. a feeling of anger or irritation caused by not being able to do something; something that evokes feelings of anger and annoyance

Pension – n. an amount of money that a company or the state pays to a person who is old or ill and no longer works

harmony – n. (in unison) the act of doing something together in order to achieve something

Obligation – n. something that limits or restricts someone or something

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