It is routine for countries to wave the banner of economic success while turning a blind eye to their citizens who do not benefit from their own country’s well-being. The reason for this is often an increased inequality gap in which the wealth of the privileged outweighs the poverty of the less privileged. Hunger in Cyprus may be surprising due to the country’s falsified “good” economic reputation, but poverty rates are at an all-time high.
Cyprus, classified as a low-income country by the U.N. until 1988, received a total of $331.6 million in aid from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the U.N. from 1973 to 1988. The FAO assisted Cyprus’ government in the formation of seven projects intending to lift Cyprus to high-income status. Since its success, Cyprus became a donor country itself, recently supporting projects in Georgia and Armenia. Unfortunately, Cyprus does not show the same concern for its own citizens.
Today, one in four Cyprus citizens live in poverty. Over 100,000 people are unemployed, and shopkeepers and small businesses struggle to stay afloat. In the city of Paphos alone, the Church of Cyprus reported that hunger in Cyprus requires them to provide food provisions for 800-1000 families each day. In addition, the nongovernmental organization Volunteer Groups reported that there are still over 12,000 additional families in desperate need of basic provisions.
And who do the citizens of Cyprus blame? A recent poll found that 80 percent of Cypriots no longer trust or believe the government, the authorities or the political elite. Furthermore, they directly blame those groups for poverty and hunger in Cyprus.
Poverty and hunger among the underprivileged seem harmless to a government only until the underprivileged come to massively outweigh the privileged. At this point, poverty and hunger in Cyprus have grown into a major threat to government and social stability, as well as the country’s international economic reputation. The only solution is to stop ignoring the statistics and begin to rebuild the economy.
– Sophie Nunnally