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More than 1.7 million People are living in Poverty in Israel today, says National Insurance Institute Report

In 2015 there were 1,712,900 people, including 460,800 families and 764,200 children living below poverty line

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Jerusalem, Dec 15, 2016: More than 1.7 million people — some 21.7 percent of the population — are living in poverty in Israel today, according to the annual poverty report released by the National Insurance Institute on Thursday.

According to the report, which is based on data gathered by the Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2015 there were 1,712,900 people, including 460,800 families and 764,200 children living below poverty line.

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The report, published by online JPost, found that the overall poverty rate decreased from 22 per cent in 2014 while the number of families living in poverty increased from 18.8 per cent in 2014 to 19.1 per cent in 2015.

Poverty among children decreased from 31 per cent in 2014 to 30 per cent in 2015 and poverty among the elderly decreased from 22.3 per cent in 2014 to 21.7 per cent in 2015.

In defining poverty, the findings indicated that an individual with a monthly income of less than NIS 3,158 ($821) and couples earning less than NIS 5,053 ($1,314) per month were considered to be living below the poverty line; whereas a family of five individuals must earn more than NIS 9,475 ($2,465)to be considered above the poverty line.

According to the report, the standard of living in terms of disposable median income per capita rose in real terms by 3.3 per cent in 2015, as did the poverty line.

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According to the report’s author, Daniel Gottlieb, Deputy Director-General for Research and Planning at the NII, this was most likely due to the reinstatement of child allotments in 2015.

The data also broke down the poverty rates between different population groups in Israel.

Among ultra-Orthodox families, the poverty rate decreased from 54.3 per cent in 2014 to 48.7 per cent in 2015, accounting for 17 per cent of poor families in Israel.

The reason for the decrease, the report notes, is primarily due to the increase in income due to employment and the reinstatement of child allotments.

In the Arab population, the poverty rate of Arab families increased to 53.3 per cent in 2015 from 52.6 per cent in 2014, while the poverty rate among children also increased from 63.5 per cent in 2014 to 65.6 per cent in 2015.

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When compared to other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, Israel still has the highest poverty rates of all developed countries, the report noted.

In addition, the GINI index of inequality showed slight improvement, however, the country continues to remain among those with the highest measure of inequality. (IANS)

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World Hunger To Rise Due To Climate Change: WFP

The number of people suffering from hunger because of climate change-induced drought is rising particularly in Africa and Latin America.

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The World Food Program warns climate change will have a devastating impact on agriculture and the ability of people to feed themselves. The WFP forecasts a huge increase in worldwide hunger unless action is taken to slow global warming.

The WFP warns progress in reducing global hunger is under threat by conflict and the increase in climate disasters. For the first time in several decades, the WFP reports the number of people suffering from chronic food shortages has risen.

This year, it says, 821 million people went to bed hungry, 11 million more than the previous year.

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Gatdin Bol, 65, who fled fighting and now survives by eating fruit from the trees, sits under a tree in the town of Kandak, South Sudan. VOA

Gernot Laganda, WFP’s chief of Climate and Disaster Risk Reduction, notes the number of climate disasters has more than doubled since the early 1990s. He says extreme weather events are driving more people to flee their homes, leading to more hunger.

He told VOA the situation will get much worse as global temperatures rise.

“We are projecting that with a two-degree warmer world, we will have around 189 million people in a status of food insecurity more than today. And, if it is a four-degrees warmer world, which is possible if no action is taken, we are looking beyond one billion more. So, there is a very, very strong argument for early and decisive climate action,” said Laganda.

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Data from this year’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report by six leading U.N. agencies show the bulk of losses and damages in food systems are due to drought and most of these disastrous events occur in Africa.

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Laganda says the number of people suffering from hunger because of climate change-induced drought is rising particularly in Africa and Latin America. He notes that until recently progress in Asia had led to a reduction in world hunger, but that trend has slowed markedly. (VOA)