This new report –published during Christian Aid Week –warns that without immediate and decisive action, Covid-19 could trigger a grave disaster for people in the poorest countries and communities, who are ill-equipped to cope with the ruinous effects of the pandemic.

These are people already battling endemic poverty and complex emergencies, including protracted humanitarian crises, long-running conflict, food insecurity, economic shocks, displacement and underfunded heath systems. People who live in crowded and precarious situations: like the 40% of people around the world unable to access soap and clean running water in their homes.

Christian Aid staff and partners are already reporting that Covid-19 is exacerbating the inequalities we see in our work, from the vulnerabilities facing migrant labourers in India’s informal sector, to the situation of women trapped in violent relationships. What began as a medical emergency has mutated to become a deep social and economic crisis that is creating major suffering even in countries where confirmed cases of the virus remain very low.

The combined effects of unemployment, lost trade and investment, and reduced government revenues during the pandemic is projected to deepen poverty for hundreds of millions of people who were already poor and,in the worst scenario could drive as many as 580 million more people into extreme poverty. In all models, the greatest impact on global poverty will be in Sub-Saharan Africa, followed by South Asia. On one estimate, progress in reducing extreme income poverty since 1990 could be wiped out, in effect taking the world back to the baseline year for the UN Millennium Development Goals.

With the outbreak still in the relatively early stages in much of the global South, we believe there is still time to avert a coronavirus catastrophe. But if left unchecked, the pandemic could mark the tipping point for many already living on the brink of survival.

This report highlights a trio of potential tipping points that require urgent attention, in the areas of health, the economy and humanitarian crises.

  1. The health tipping point
  2. The economic tipping point
  3. The humanitarian tipping point

Click here to read the press release.

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