Wednesday, December 05, 2007

23% percent of Those in Poverty have Contemplated Suicide

from Y Net News

Alternative Poverty Report shows ongoing decline in poor individuals' ability to provide for their needs in terms of education, health, nutrition and housing; some 35% cannot pay for medicines, 20% are chronically ill

Yael Branovsky

Some 23% of the poor in Israel contemplated ending their life due to their dire financial situation, the Alternative Poverty Report, published by the Latet humanitarian aid organization, revealed Wednesday. According to the National Insurance Institute, in 2006 the number of poor individuals in Israel stood at 1,650,000, nearly half of them children.

Data for the report was collected by 120 aid groups that operate in 80 communities across the country, and is also based on three studies and a survey among 500 respondents.

The authors of the report noted that statistics indicate an ongoing decline in poor individuals' ability to provide for theirs and their families' needs in terms of education, health, nutrition and housing.

According to the report, over the last five years the demand for food donations among the needy rose by 104%, meaning that their number has doubled. Furthermore, half of the poor do not believe they will ever be able to get out of the cycle of poverty.

Can't pay for drugs

In the area of health, the report showed the 25% of needy individuals know someone who died because he was unable to pay for medical care. An astounding 95% of the poor cannot pay for dental treatments, a 12% increase compared to last year. Moreover, about 20% of them suffer from a chromic illness, and 35% need regular medicinal treatment, but cannot afford to buy the drugs.

The report also found that some 78% of the poor in Israel cannot afford to buy school supplies for their children, a 47% increase in comparison to last year. Additionally, 89% of the poor are unable to pay for their children's extracurricular activities, including private tutoring. Only 6% said that they could afford to fund their children's academic studies.

Latet also revealed that 68% of the needy reported that their gas, phone, water or electricity supply had been cut off in the last year, a 19% rise compared to 2006. Eighty-one percent of the poor have never been abroad, and more than half have never been on a vacation in Israel.

To conclude, the report found that despite the common assumption that many of the poor prefer to receive a state pension rather than work, 76% of those surveyed said they would have preferred to work and not get a stipend.

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