Coronavirus to push 8.3 million Arab people into poverty


The deadly coronavirus will push further 8.3 million people in the Arab region into poverty, according to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.

The Commission also said that the pandemic would increase the number of undernourished people in the region by about two million.  The present statistics show that about 101.4 million in the Arab Region already live in poverty. And among this, about 52 million are undernourished.

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia Executive Secretary Rola Dashti said that the consequences of this would impact on the vulnerable groups. Women, children and those working in the informal sector will be the most affected. These groups have no social protection and unemployment insurance, Dashti said.

The Arab world depends heavily on food imports. A disruption the world over will have an impact on the food security in the region, the Commission said. It said that once food loss and waste is reduced by 50 per cent, it would increase the household income by some 20 billion dollars. This would also help in improving food availability and reduce food imports.

Dashti asked the Arab countries to take steps against foods insecurity. She had last week called for establishing a regional social solidarity fund for vulnerable countries.

Meanwhile, Commission Senior Economist Khalid Abu-Ismail highlighted four measures to tackle the situation in the region. He was for building social networks and expanding on cash and other transfers to the vulnerable and the poor. He also highlighted the importance of Arab Food Security Emergency Funds.


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