57pc coastal poor face food crisis due to COVID-19

Staff Correspondent | Published: 01:35, May 13,2020


A new survey conducted on the poor in six coastal districts revealed that 57 per cent of the households surveyed there were in food crisis because of the coronavirus stalemate.

The Coast Trust, a non-government organisation, conducted the survey and made public its findings through a press release on Tuesday.

The survey included 240 families of six districts — Chattogram, Noakhali, Barishal, Lakshmipur, Bhola and Cox’s Bazar.

About 56 per cent of the surveyed families used to consume protein three to four days a week prior to the outbreak, but now only 13 per cent of them have access to protein so frequently in a week, the survey revealed.

As many as 34 per cent of the surveyed household completely lost their means of income due to the pandemic while the income of 19 per cent households has halved, and 39 per cent households witnessed slashed income, said the survey.

The economic strain that appeared suddenly forced 63 per cent households to borrow from moneylenders at high interests while 35 per cent sold their livestock, said the survey.

The press release quoted COAST Trust executive director Rezaul Karim Chowdhury as saying that at least one lender was killed in one of the surveyed areas by his creditor for failing to repay loan.

About half of the surveyed households had to break their savings and many of them were headed by women who either sold their jewelries or cows and goats facing the crisis.

About 78 per cent surveyed people said that they need to lend money from whatever sources available — either NGO or bank or loan sharks.

They said that they need the money to invest in small business to turn the tide and that the absence of institutional and formal creditors made them victims of loan sharks.

The loss of income and uncertain future destroyed peace at many homes with 54 per cent surveyed people saying that they faced increased domestic violence.

In many families, the problem of dowry is stirring its head again with 9 per cent of the surveyed families complaining that they got new dowry demands amid the crisis.

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