A United Nations report on Latin America and the Caribbean warns that nearly 45 percent of young people live below the poverty level.

a Report The United Nations says Latin America and the Caribbean may face a “protracted social crisis” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) released on Thursday found that 56.5 million people in the region have been affected by hunger. It is estimated that 45.4 percent of people aged 18 or younger in Latin America lived in poverty.

“We are facing a series of crises that have exacerbated inequalities and inefficiencies in the region,” said the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, José Manuel Salazar Zerinach, in a press release Thursday. “This is not a time for incremental changes, but rather, for transformative and ambitious policies.”

The report underscores the long-term impact COVID-19 pandemicwith poverty rates still above pre-pandemic levels and nearly 13 percent of the region’s population living in extreme poverty.

Factors including high inflation and fallout from Russian invasion of Ukraine It is likely to create a challenging landscape for governments seeking to bring these numbers down.

The report notes that higher prices may lead to increased malnutrition and slower economic growth. The report projects GDP growth for the region at 3.2 percent for 2022 and 1.4 percent in 2023, down from 6.5 percent in 2021.

Overall, it faces an additional 12 million people extreme poverty In the region since 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was not possible to reverse the effects of the pandemic in terms of poverty and extreme poverty,” said Salazar Zerinakhs.

The United Nations also highlighted the effects of the pandemic on education, noting that educational institutions in the region closed for an average of 70 weeks, compared to the global average of 41 weeks. The report said the region has faced a “silent but devastating” impact on education.

The percentage of 18-24-year-olds in Latin America who are not in school or unemployed increased from 22.3% in 2019 to 28.7% in 2020, according to the report.

The effects were felt most acutely among some marginalized groups, with “poverty much higher in indigenous and Afro-descendant populations,” the study stated, as well as children and women of certain age groups.

The virus has taken a heavy toll on countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, with nearly 700,000 deaths in Brazil and more than 330,000 deaths in Mexico, according to the data company. Statista.

A report by Amnesty International and the Center for Economic and Social Rights concluded that “staggering inequality” is one of The main element in mortality rates across the region. While Latin America accounts for about 8.4 percent of the world’s population, it accounts for about 28 percent of COVID-19 deaths.

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