The World Bank (WB) estimated that in the Western Balkans, if governments had not introduced certain measures, the pandemic-induced crisis would have reduced at least 400,000 people to poverty.
The Bank estimates that the number of people facing poverty would rise to 950,000 from June to August if the crisis lasted longer.
The WB economist Trang Van Nguyen underlined that, taking into account the further uncertainty about the second wave of the pandemic, the situation could be even worse.
“Countries have already implemented certain concrete measures, and the civil sector and international organisations could make further efforts to fill some gaps in the provision of social services,” Nguyen said.
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When looking at the impact of the coronavirus on poverty in the Western Balkans, the WB economist said that incomes will be hit hard especially in the sectors most affected by the crisis, and the loss of income means that more people will be exposed to poverty.
“Even before the crisis, we estimated that about one-fifth of the population in the Western Balkan region lives in poverty,” said Tang Van Nguyen.
According to her, there are families who are already poor and dependent on their weekly or daily income, and they will be particularly affected by the crisis.
“There are families who are close to poverty. They were not poor before the crisis because they relied on less secure jobs or even employment in the informal sector, and now, with this crisis, they run the risk of becoming poor,” continues Nguyen, adding that millions of people from Western Balkans work in Europe and send money home, but now the diaspora is likely to be affected by the crisis as well,” she added.
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