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600,000 Greek children living below poverty line: UNICEF

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A woman holds her child as she begs outside shops displaying Christmas offers in central Athens.

Almost 600,000 children in Greece are living below the poverty line, a UNICEF official says.

“The situation is very worrying. The problems of poverty and social exclusion are increasing,” President of UNICEF in Greece, Lambros Kanellopoulos, said on Wednesday.

Kanellopoulos added that the situation has a negative effect both on the welfare of children and issues concerning their health and development.

He noted that approximately 597,000 children are currently living in poverty, up from 439,000 a year ago. Out of that number, 322,000 lack the basic daily nutritional needs.

Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is experiencing its sixth year of recession, while harsh austerity measures have left tens of thousands of people without jobs.

Many Greek workers are currently unemployed, banks are in a shaky position, and pensions and salaries have been slashed.

Greek youths have also been badly affected, and more than half of them are unemployed.


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