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Dhaka Tribune

Survey: 67% respondents are new poor amid Covid-19

95% of households experienced income reduction during the initial days of the Covid-19 outbreak, but the number declined to 76% in April and May

Update : 09 Jun 2020, 09:04 PM

Almost 67% of respondents of a survey have become newly poor as a result of job losses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The survey, titled "Economic Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic and Way Forward for Bangladesh," was conducted by Brac and unveiled through an online media briefing on Tuesday.

Its findings are derived from data obtained from a study conducted on 2,317 respondents randomly selected from two upazilas of 64 districts across the country from May 9 to May 13.  

According to the findings, 95% of households experienced income reduction during the initial days of the Covid-19 outbreak, but the number declined to 76% in April and May.

Additionally, the income of 51% of households was reduced to almost zero, while 62% of wage earners experienced job losses and 28% became economically inactive.

The study also found that 67% people had become the new poor through losing their jobs during the countrywide shutdown.

Almost 80% of female-headed households experienced income loss, while 75% with male patriarchs experienced the same. 

Only 28% of women received government support while 38% among men obtained the same, the survey revealed. 

Close to 30%  of female-headed households do not know how to come out of this crisis in future, compared to 25% of male-headed households.

Nobonita Chowdhury, director of Brac, said during the pandemic, mental torture on females owing to financial crises had increased while the rate of suicide had also gone up. 

“To stop the violence on women in this situation government initiatives should be taken up rigidly”, she said.

Almost 70% of women are working in informal sectors, and they are the most vulnerable to losing jobs. 

“The authorities should take steps to get them into work through following proper heath guidelines”, she added.

The survey also found that only 14% of households received relief while 69% of families in need had received no form of assistance. 

Sudipto Mukherjee, resident representative of UNDP Bangladesh, said it was important to keep investing in the frontliners and help the beneficiaries to cope with the crisis. 

 “It is also important to provide possible data in the public domain through digital platforms so that no one is left behind or wrong people are identified while targeting poor people to be provided with support,” he said.

Abul Kalam Azad, former principal coordinator (SDG affairs) at the Prime Minister’s Office, said, "During this time we can provide online skills development training to young people as well as to returnees from abroad,” he said.   

KAM Morshed, senior director of Brac, moderated the media briefing.

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