Survey Finds 700,000 Greeks Near Poverty Line

Elderly woman looking to the garbage for food in Athens, Greece, Wednesday, February 22, 2017. (Photo: Eurokinissi/Giorgos Kontarinis.)

ATHENS – More than 7 ½ years of a crushing economic and austerity crisis have so devastated Greek society that the middle class is vanishing and some 700,000 people are close to being impoverished.

That was the finding of a report from the Dianeosis non-profit think tank which showed that percentage of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion has risen from 28.3 in 2007 to 35.6 in 2016, ironically jumping dramatically under the nearly three-year-long reign  of the Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition despite Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ promises to reverse austerity and help the country’s most vulnerable.

Men and women were more or less equally affected by the trend, the survey found, while noting that people aged over 55 were least affected.

Earlier this year, it was reported that more than 75 percent of households suffered a significant income reduction from 2016, according to a survey by the business confederation GSEVEE and Marc pollsters. A third had at least one unemployed member and 40 percent said they had to cut back on food spending.

Successive governments have done next to nothing to help, leaving it to charities, non-governmental organizations and the Greek Church to provide homeless shelters, soup kitchens and aid to the most desperate that SYRIZA promised to help but abandoned to satisfy demands of international creditors Tsipras vowed to oppose before surrendering to them for money.