A recent UN socio-economic impact assessment has found that the national poverty rate in Fiji is expected to increase where an additional 50,453 to 82,694 people are expected to fall below the poverty line with a worst case scenario of 110,000 individuals getting into poverty.
UN Women Representative Sandra Bernklau made this comment while speaking during the Consultation on Women's Resilience to Disasters and Climate Change in Suva.
According to the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, if a household income is less than $209.24 per week, they are considered to be living below the poverty line.
In the 2017 Census, it was stated that 28% of Fiji's population lived below the poverty line.
Bernklau also says the number of children in poverty will increase from 98,226 to as high as 141,147.
She adds we are also experiencing an unprecedented global crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with tropical cyclones Harold and Sarai.
Bernklau says communities are having to cope with multiple and overlapping disasters making recovery extremely difficult.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation says it is helping Fijians through their Poverty Benefit Scheme, Care and Protection Allowance Program, Social Pension Scheme and the Expanded Food Voucher for Rural Pregnant Mothers.
77,512 people were previously getting social welfare payments however payments of about 10,000 people have been suspended as they had not filled in their re-certification forms to show that they are still eligible for the assistance.
The Ministry was allocated $159 million in the budget.
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