Oxfam, has been working with vulnerable communities in more than 90 countries, including Spain, over the past sixty years.
In a statement made today, the Spanish division of the charity, Oxfam Intermon, based in Barcelona, warned that the impact of Covid-19, could increase the number of people living below the poverty threshold by more than 1.1 million, to 10.9 million, if no further action is taken.
The NGO calculates that, with this increase, the numbers of poor would jump from 20.7% of the Spanish population, prior to the pandemic, up to 23.07% after the effects of coronavirus.
Announced to coincide with the charity’s Week for the Eradication of Poverty, the organisation considers it essential that the General State Budgets (PGE) pay attention to the most vulnerable people, because, “soon it will be too late”.
Oxfam Intermón, Director General, Franc Cortada, warned that, “Mitigating the effects of the socioeconomic crisis, both within and outside our borders, so that no one is left behind, is urgent,” he explained.
“For this reason we ask the Government to apply measures that shield public services such as education and health and reinforce social protection, especially by expanding the Minimum Living Income.”
Cortada, also highlighted devastating figures released by the World Bank, suggesting that at an international level, for the first time in 20 years, extreme poverty will grow, due to the direct effects of the pandemic, reaching around 115 million more people.
“These figures clearly demonstrate that billions of people have been more vulnerable to the economic impacts of COVID-19 due to decades of economic policies that have plunged them into poverty, while the most affluent in society have accumulated more and more wealth”, he warned.
Within Spain, Covid-19 has led Oxfam Intermón to extend their workload to include, 29 more organisations, allowing them to meet the basic and urgent needs of thousands of people in 21 cities.
“Thanks to this emergency programme, we have been able to reach nearly 70,000 people so far and without the tireless work of our local partner organisations, it would have been impossible,” said Cortada.
The NGO’s proposed measures, focus on fighting against job insecurity and labour rights amongst the most vulnerable groups such as women, young people and migrants.
They have also put forward a battery of fiscal measures to allow the collection of more from wealth and capital from larger businesses that have prospered during the pandemic.