Loneliness and poverty, the other bitter side of the pandemic

The Covid crisis is plunging large numbers of Europeans into poverty. In a few months, those people who already lived in a precarious situation before the pandemic have been doomed to complete helplessness. This is the case with Raymond Jacquet. This former retired bookseller receives a small pension. To make ends meet, he used to go to markets to sell books. Now in addition to not having additional income, he feels very lonely.

“Let’s talk about social poverty, not only financial, but social. And social poverty is very serious. You need contacts and now we are locked up, we are going to die in our house. I live alone in a small apartment for which I pay 400 euros, no I have nothing valuable … And in the end we are going to die of isolation “, says Raymond.

To this day, Raymond cannot buy a new book. All expenses are controlled to the millimeter. He doesn’t even drive a car anymore so he doesn’t have to pay for gas. Your situation is quite grim.

“The other day I went to buy a kebab … it cost me 6.50 euros, and the truth seemed like a lot. For my budget it is quite a lot. It can be done from time to time, but before I had already bought eggs, tomatoes and potatoes to make a mess. The money is not enough for more “, says Raymond.

In the fall, Raymond caught Covid, so he had to stay home to recover. For him, the most important thing is to be able to eat, wash and dress to maintain his dignity. But sometimes it lacks strength.

“It is a misery, a misery and a great sadness. Every now and then I collapse, every now and then I am in my chair and I collapse and I wonder how I am going to get ahead”, express.

From the financial crisis of 2008 to the current health crisis, the European Union has failed to reduce poverty. According to the UN, one in every 5 people is at risk of poverty. A stone that can get even worse. we are facing the second wave.

“We know that the crisis is a double-edged sword. There are a large number of people who have lost their income for months and who have finally lost their jobs, and often these are people who were already in a very precarious situation.” To which he adds: “And on the other hand, we will have to face a second wave of layoffs that will accompany company bankruptcies when the support that States give to companies is gradually withdrawn. It is then that a large number of companies, unfortunately, will have to declare bankruptcy .

Unfortunately, we expect a sharp increase in poverty by the end of 2021 “says Olivier De Schutter, a UN expert on extreme poverty.

The UN suggests that the European Union should stop viewing social spending as a cost that increases debt, and see it as a long-term investment.