United Nations, March 16 (EFE).- If the war in Ukraine continues, the country could lose 18 years of economic progress, with up to 90 percent of the population living in poverty or at risk of falling into poverty in the next 12 months, according to estimates published Wednesday by the United Nations.
These projections, the first made by the UN Development Program on the impact of the conflict, say that during the next year almost a third of Ukrainians could live below the poverty line, 14 times more people than in peacetime.
Another 62 percent of the country may be left at high risk of falling into poverty, said the program, which has a significant presence in Ukraine.
According to the study, the country stands to lose 18 years of socioeconomic progress if the war continues.
“Although the need for immediate humanitarian assistance for Ukrainians is of the utmost importance, the severe development impacts of a protracted conflict are becoming more apparent,” the program’s Administrator Achim Steiner said in a statement.
For this reason, in parallel to the humanitarian response already under way, the agency said it is necessary to give specific support to the Ukrainian government so it can continue offering basic services to the population.
The program said that, according to government estimates, infrastructure worth at least $ 100 billion has already been destroyed, including roads, bridges, hospitals or schools, among other things.
The war has also forced half of the country’s businesses to close and the rest to operate well below normal capacity.
To mitigate the impact on the population, the report proposes possible measures such as a money transfer program to the most needy people.
According to the document, a budget of about $ 250 million a month could partially cover the loss of income for 2.6 million people expected to fall into poverty.
Meanwhile, it said temporarily offering a basic income system in the country, with $ 5.50 a day per person, would cost about $ 430 million a month. EFE