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More and More Kids in Greece Are Starving

More and More Kids in Greece Are Starving

Greek children are going hungry, yet another terrible consequence of the economic crisis that has gripped the country for five years. Children have been seen looking through trash cans and students have asked other children for food. Schools are not only witnessing the sight of children bent over with hunger pangs — the government is itself reporting the same.

Dr. Athena Lipsos of the University of Athens Medical School tells the New York Times that “when it comes to food insecurity, Greece has now fallen to the level of some African countries.” Food insecurity shows how much a child faces hunger or is at risk for such.

According to a 2012 Unicef report, among the poorest Greek households with children, more than 26 percent have an “economically weak diet.” Immigrant families have certainly been affected, but also Greeks in cities and in rural areas. Families in the countryside can still grow some of their food, but not those in urban ones and pasta, rice, lentils and cabbage are all that many children are living on. One father tells the New York Times that he supplements the family’s diet of cabbage with snails.

Greece’s schools do not offer subsidized lunches for students, who either bring their own food or purchase it from a cafeteria. With some students able to do neither, Prolepsis, a nongovernmental public health group that Dr. Lipsos is affiliated with, began a pilot program last year. From it, children receive a sandwich, fruit and milk at 34 public schools; more than half of the 6,400 families participating said they had experienced “medium to serious hunger.”

Thanks to an $8 million grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the program is now being expanded to cover 20,000 children at 120 schools. The Greek government also says it is receiving European Union funding to provide fruit and milk in schools and food vouchers for bread and cheese; it is is also working with the Greek Orthodox Church to provide thousands of care packages.

This report of Greek children is, needless to say, in sharp contrast with those from just a few years ago about obesity in the country’s youth, as the increased presence of fast food and supermarkets stocked with convenience foods pulled children away from the traditional Mediterranean diet. In 2008, two-thirds of Greek children were overweight and facing the complications of obesity, from high cholesterol to diabetes.

Greece is entering its sixth year of recession and its unemployment rate has continued to rise, standing now at 27 percent and over 50 for those in their twenties. 6 out of 10 job seekers say they have not worked in more than a year. The 2012 Unicef report also notes that 439,000 children in Greece live below the poverty line. Of these children, not only do over 20 percent have a diet lacking in animal protein, but 37 percent lack adequate heating in their homes and over 20 live in what are defined as “poor environmental conditions.”

The hunger too many Greek children are now facing shows the ongoing effects of the austerity measures demanded by the country’s creditors to receive financing to address crushing debt. A graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Thomas Herndon, has found that a famous study by Harvard University professors that is often used to make a case for austerity contains errors. You would think that this, along with so many Greek children going hungry and suffering from malnutrition, would make government leaders and economists rethink austerity policies that have called for raising taxes on electricity and cutting jobs, pensions and services.

 

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134 comments

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10:25PM PDT on Jul 22, 2013

thank you for the article and all the good comments from the members. If we let them, the republicans will do the same thing to our kids right here in America. cutting out free lunches, food banks, food stamps, anything that would help the poor and hungry. What a great example of greed by the ultra rich stupid republican jerks in congress. They will meet their maker some day and they will have to answer for all of the suffering they caused these poor and hungry people.....period

10:25AM PDT on May 7, 2013

Sad.... But people should stop having kids if they cannot afford to have them... We have taken the planet to their limits....

4:30AM PDT on May 6, 2013

The save thing is going to happen here in the US if we don't wise up and change our ways! We are borrowing staggering amounts of money to just give away to people who don't work. Those who are on welfare and food stamps are getting hand outs NOT a hand up. They (and I know not all, but a large majority) just sit at home taking the money and not even trying to get work. Our government is too big, There are many programs that overlap and can be merged into one but no one is even looking into that.

3:37PM PDT on Apr 26, 2013

Austerity policy is STUPID! If people don't have jobs, if the taxes are too high, if people can't pay their houses anymore, if people don't have money they can't buy, so the commerce stops.If there are no money nobody invests so the industry collapses too. And these countries are paying their debts( ??????) with high interests!!!!! It's just not decent!
We can thank that catastrophe to the greed of Germany, to the ignorance of IMF and the stupidity of European Central Bank !

3:01PM PDT on Apr 26, 2013

Unfortunately too many politicians! - and too many banks!!!!! have been "playing" with the economy - beneath all responsibility!...
90% of the worlds economy is based on "expected income" !!!!
We all live in a huge financial bubble!....
Greece is the first country which has fallen in an oncoming domino effect! ......

12:03PM PDT on Apr 26, 2013

There are hungry children in every country. It's sad but true.

10:12PM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

I'd love to adopt a few of those kids. Shame that it's so ridiculously damned expensive to do so :(

7:33AM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

thanks, for posting this, care2

7:30AM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

It is now 12.24 am and I won't write much. It is also not necessary as I've just read though the comments and all the points that I was going to make have been made by others. there were, of course a couple of comments by paranoid republicans who think that it is slavery to pay taxes as they might benefit the lazy poor.
One thing I should like to say though. they should find out how the Cubans survived a worse crisis when they had the oil embargo put upon them. It was a cooperative effort of all the people and they were helped by Australians who had developed permaculture. One can't starve when the whole country is a food garden. Google permaculture if you don't know what it is.

6:11AM PDT on Apr 25, 2013

immigrancy can be a issue for poverty of resident people??

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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