for this article is
Poverty Up 10 Times in Ex-Soviet Lands
Associated Press, London, Oct. 11
At least 50 million children in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union live in poverty and are exposed to tuberculosis levels usually associated with the third world, says a report released today.
The report, by the European Children's Trust, a group active in 10 Eastern European countries, urged the West to help by easing debt burdens. The report, "The Silent Crisis," found that poverty in the region had increased more than tenfold over the decade since the fall of Communism because of reduced spending on health, education and other social programs.
"Since the breakup of the Communist system," the study says, "conditions have become much worse, in some cases catastrophically so.
"For all its many faults, the old system provided most people with a reasonable standard of living and a certain security."
At least 50 million children were found to live in "genuine poverty," with 40 million of them in the former Soviet Union. Over all, more than 160 million people, 40 percent of the population, are thought to live in poverty.
The report measured infant mortality, the proportion of the population not expected to live to 60 and the number of tuberculosis cases. It said infant mortality, at 26 per 1,000 births in 1998, approached rates in Latin America and the Caribbean, where it is 32 per 1,000. In the United States, infant mortality is 7.2 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Tuberculosis rates have risen in Eastern Europe, with an average 67.6 cases per 1,000 people in 1997. That compared with 49.6 percent in Arab states, 47.6 percent in Latin America and 35.1 percent in eastern Asia.
Tuberculosis rates ranged from 20 per 1,000 in the Czech Republic to 80 per 1,000 in Lithuania, Turkmenistan, Latvia and Russia, and 150 per 1,000 in Georgia.
"Time is running out," the trust said. "That there has not been a total collapse of social structures in these countries so far is a testament to the resilience of the people there. But they cannot continue living this way indefinitely."
(C) Associated Press, 2000 Reposted for fair use only.
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