UN: COVID plunged 77 million into poverty before Ukraine war

Apr 12, 2022, 5:30 PM | Updated: 5:52 pm
A woman receives her third dose of vaccine for COVID-19 at a private vaccination center in Gauhati,...

A woman receives her third dose of vaccine for COVID-19 at a private vaccination center in Gauhati, India, Sunday, April 10, 2022. India began offering booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults on Sunday but limited free shots at government centers to front-line workers and people over age 60. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

(AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The pandemic plunged 77 million more people into extreme poverty last year and many developing countries can’t recover because of the crippling cost of debt repayments — and that was before the added impact of the war in Ukraine, a U.N. report said Tuesday.

The report said rich countries could support their recovery from pandemic slumps with record amounts borrowed at ultra-low interest rates. But the poorest countries spent billions of dollars servicing their debts and faced much higher borrowing costs, preventing them from spending on improving education and health care, protecting the environment and reducing inequality.

According to the U.N., 812 million people lived in extreme poverty — on $1.90 a day or less — in 2019, and by 2021 amid the pandemic the number had risen to 889 million.

The report is on financing to achieve U.N. development goals for 2030, including ending poverty, ensuring quality education for all young people and achieving gender equality.

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said at a news conference that the effort “is coming at a critical moment for humanity, adding to the compounding crises of climate assaults on our natural systems and the protracted COVID-19 pandemic.”

Added to this, she said, is the global impact of the war in Ukraine. A U.N. analysis indicates “1.7 billion people are faced with exposure to spiking food, energy and fertilizer costs as a result of the war in Ukraine,” Mohammed said.

The report estimates that GDP per capita in 20% of developing countries will not return to pre-2019 levels by the end of 2023, even before absorbing the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

It says the poorest developing countries, on average, pay 14% of their revenue for interest on their debts, with many forced to cut budgets for education, infrastructure and capital spending as a result of the pandemic. Rich developed countries pay only 3.5%, it says.

The war in Ukraine will exacerbate these challenges, the report said, and it will also bring higher energy and commodity prices, renewed supply chain disruptions, higher inflation, lower growth and increased volatility in financial markets.

Mohammed said “it would be a tragedy” if rich donor nations increased military expenditures as a result of the war and cut aid to developing countries and reduced efforts to address the climate crisis.

The U.N. already was “off track” in efforts to reach the U.N. development goals before the pandemic hit and brought new problems, she said. Now, the war and its impact will set these efforts back again, “so the big message is that we need more resources,” she said.

“There is no excuse for inaction at this defining moment of collective responsibility, to ensure hundreds of millions of people are lifted out of hunger and poverty,” Mohammed said. “We must invest in access for decent and green jobs, social protection, health care and education leaving no one behind.”

The report’s recommendations include speeding up debt relief and expanding eligibility to highly indebted middle-income countries, aligning the international tax system to address such issues as inequality in availability of coronavirus vaccines and access to medical products, accelerating investment in sustainable energy, and improving information sharing.

The report was produced by the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs in collaboration with more than 60 international agencies, including the U.N. system and international financial institutions.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Officials: Nine fatal drug overdoses in rural Florida county

QUINCY, Fla. (AP) — Nine people died over the holiday weekend from likely drug overdoses in a rural Florida Panhandle county, officials said. After two women were found dead of an apparent overdose Friday, the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office put out an alert seeking the public’s help to warn others of the possibly polluted drug […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Feds sue over new Arizona citizenship proof law for voting

PHOENIX (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday sued Arizona over a new law requiring people who use a federal form to register to vote to provide additional proof of citizenship if they want to vote for president or using the state’s popular vote-by-mail system. The law signed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey […]
19 hours ago
FILE - A Spirit Airlines jet approaches Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Feb. 24...
Associated Press

Spirit wins takeoff and landing rights at key Newark airport

WASHINGTON (AP) — Spirit Airlines will get valuable takeoff and landing times that Southwest Airlines is abandoning at busy Newark-Liberty International Airport near New York City. The U.S. Transportation Department said Tuesday that Spirit “is most likely to provide the lowest fares to the most consumers” at the airport in Newark, New Jersey. JetBlue Airways […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Police: Mother drowned children, then killed herself

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Three children whose bodies were found in a suburban Minneapolis lake over the holiday weekend died in drownings that were classified as homicides, and their mother died of a drowning that was suicide, authorities said Tuesday as they also identified the victims. Searchers recovered the bodies of Molly Cheng and […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

Judge OKs transfer plan for beagles from troubled facility

CUMBERLAND, Va. (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday approved a plan that calls for transferring about 4,000 dogs currently housed at a troubled Virginia breeding facility to shelters where they can be adopted, according to court records. The development came in a civil enforcement case the federal government initiated in May against Envigo RMS, […]
19 hours ago
Associated Press

North Carolina man pleads guilty in police officer’s death

MOIUNT HOLLY, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges stemming from the fatal shooting of a police officer in 2020, authorities said. During his hearing, Joshua Tyler Funk, 24, of Mount Holly, entered a guilty plea for murder, news outlets reported. In exchange for his plea, the other charges […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
UN: COVID plunged 77 million into poverty before Ukraine war