Mekong Nations Count Cost of Pandemic

For Bernard Kervyn, the pandemic has made poverty alleviation an even more challenging task in countries along the Mekong River.

Kervyn, regional director in Vietnam and Cambodia for the nonprofit organization Mekong Plus, said the outbreak has led to a 30 percent rise in the number of people living in acute poverty in the region’s rural areas.

Due to travel and other restrictions imposed by countries across the region and worldwide to curb the spread of infection, Kervyn has had to scale down, postpone or even cancel fundraising events and poverty reduction projects.

Tight finances meant that costs had to be reduced.

While China announced in December that it had achieved its poverty reduction goal as planned, with nearly 100 million people lifted out of penury over the past eight years, other parts of the world, especially countries elsewhere in Asia, are facing the prospect of falling back into poverty.

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YANG HAN in Hong Kong