The economic crisis in Portugal is forcing an increasing number of people in the recession-mired eurozone country to turn to food banks for help.
“We have more people asking for our help every year, the list is growing so fast that we had to do something that isn’t our policy: create a waiting list,” said Rogerio Figueira, a volunteer with CASA Association, a non-profit association supporting people who live in vulnerable conditions.
Portugal, after Greece and Ireland, is the third country to succumb to serious financial troubles in the eurozone debt crisis and to seek funding assistance.
The European Union, the European Central Bank (ECB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) granted Portugal an emergency loan worth 78 billion euros (102 billion US dollars) after the country‘s borrowing costs soared to unsustainable levels in 2011.
In return, the Portuguese government imposed a series of deeply unpopular austerity measures to meet the conditions of the international bailout of its economy.
Portugal’s main opposition party, the Socialists, has accused Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho’s government of applying austerity at any cost and plunging millions of Portuguese into poverty, while failing to meet growth and deficit targets.
Portugal is grappling with its worst recession since the 1970s. The country is bracing for a record 18.2 percent jobless rate this year, up from last year’s 16.9 percent.
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