“I can’t afford the soaring prices”… Families skip meals around the world

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Soaring food prices and energy prices are hitting low-income households around the world ahead of winter in full swing.

During the COVID-19 pandemic (global pandemic) that has lasted for nearly two years, the vulnerable and low-income class, who were living on government subsidies, etc., faced the grim reality of rising prices along with the outbreak of ‘With Corona’.

In the UK, where natural gas prices soared five times this year, not only the poor but also ordinary office workers are looking for food banks (where the poor get free food), and in Asia and Latin America, ordinary people skipping meals because they can’t afford their meals. Families are increasing.

The common people and the poor in the UK, who are facing a colder winter than any other year due to soaring natural gas prices, are at a crossroads where they have to choose between heating or eating.

According to a CNN Business report on the 5th (local time) of this month (local time), the number of first-time visitors has increased at the food bank ‘Dad’s House’ in West London, where a lot of the wealthy live.

In the past, it was mainly visited by the poor who could not afford to eat properly, but recently, ordinary office workers such as teachers, graphic designers, and journalists are also using it.

“Dad’s House” founder Billy McGranaughan told CNN Business, “A surprising phenomenon has been occurring since mid-September.”

“The number of people visiting food banks will skyrocket in the coming months,” he added, “because electricity and gas prices have soared to the point where they can’t afford it.”

In the UK, the wholesale price of natural gas, the main heating fuel, has risen 423% since January of this year.

Rising prices for natural gas and other energy are putting a lot of pressure on the cost of living for millions of British households.

A 63-year-old woman named Marie, who first visited the food bank four months ago, told CNN Business that her husband had blood circulation problems and had to heat the house, and was already worried about heating costs for the next quarter.

Since early last month, the UK government has stopped paying £20 a week in government subsidies to more than 5.8 million unemployed and low-income people during the pandemic.

The loss of £20 a week for low-income earners is a blow, McGranaughan said.

He added that they “are at a crossroads where they have to choose between heating or meals (with limited cost of living).”

Robert Hunninger, who runs another food bank 7 miles east of the country, said, “Since the end of September, the number of visitors to the restaurant has surged to about 250 per week,” said young professionals and teachers. , semi-professional tennis players also joined the ranks of visitors.”

In Latin America and Asia, where the gap between the rich and the poor is wide and developing countries are abundant, many poor families are skipping meals because they cannot afford the soaring prices.

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), skyrocketing food prices are pushing low-income households to an extreme, especially in Latin America and Asia, where inflation is severe.

Celia Matos, a 41-year-old single mother from São Paulo, Brazil, told the WSJ, “Up until the beginning of this year, I was able to feed my family, but recently the price of meat and other groceries has risen 30 percent.

Matos added, “If you buy gas to cook, you don’t have money to buy food, and if you buy food, you don’t have money to buy soap.” “Sometimes I want to cry.”

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently announced that the World Food Price Index for October was 133.2 points, up 31.3% from a year ago, the highest since July 2011.

The WSJ reports that food prices are rising sharply, especially in Latin America.

The United Nations estimates that tens of millions of Latin Americans are malnourished or skipping meals.

The central banks of Brazil and Chile have recently raised their benchmark interest rates sharply to tackle severe inflation, but the effect is unknown.

“Brazil and other countries in Latin America are facing stagflation,” said William Jackson, an emerging markets economist at Capital Economics.

Asia is relatively less inflamed than South America, but the impact of the recent severe weather and supply chain disruptions in the region has led to significant increases in the prices of key foodstuffs.

Prices of vegetables such as onions and cauliflower soared in India and China, which suffered flood damage due to recent heavy rains, and vegetable and palm oil prices in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, rose sharply.

Shanti Horo, a 41-year-old single mother living in New Delhi, asked the WSJ, “I eat only rice (without any side dishes) or sometimes just bread with sugar to make a living.”

The Financial Times (FT) reported that food prices soared and consumers around the world were economically strained as food prices soared as bad weather such as drought in the Americas and torrential rains in Europe, along with supply chain disruptions that occurred after the easing of corona restrictions overlapped.

(Photo = Getty Images Korea)

Reference-news.sbs.co.kr

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