Balochistan’s poverty rate increases to 68% during lockdown

Pakistani residents wait for food given out by a charity outside a restaurant in Karachi on April 8, 2016. Nearly 60 million people live below the poverty line in Pakistan, making almost a third of the country poor under a new formula adopted by the government to measure poverty.†The report, from Pakistan's Planning Commission, estimates that adults in up to 7.6 million households are earning less than 3,030 rupees per month ($30), raising poverty levels to 29.5 percent from nine percent under former estimates. / AFP PHOTO / ASIF HASSAN

Quetta (HRNW) The poverty rate in Balochistan has increased from 40% to 68% during the three months of the lockdown imposed to curb the novel coronavirus, government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani said on Friday.

The number of people below the poverty line in the province were initially 800,000. “The number has, however, shot up to over 1.3 million since February because of the lockdown,” he said.

These are people who can’t fend for themselves and are surviving under extreme poverty conditions, Shahwani said, adding that 400,000 others have lost their jobs.

Most of these people are daily wagers. “It has become very difficult for us to feed our children even twice a day,” a labourer said. “Expenses keep increasing but our income is nothing.”

According to reports, if the conditions remain the same, more than 1.7 million people are expected to fall below the poverty line.

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