As many as 71 percent people have become jobless due to the ongoing shutdown enforced to curb the spread of novel coronavirus, according to a survey.
The incomes of people who are barely working during the closure have dropped by 50 to 90 percent, forcing them to cut costs, the survey states.
The survey carried out by the Brac Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) and Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC), states nearly 98 percent people could afford three meals a day before the shutdown. Now, the shutdown has dragged that number down to 73 percent.
PPRC Executive Chairman Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman and BIGD Executive Director Dr Imran Matin revealed the findings on Thursday at an online press briefing.
To alleviate the situation, the BIGD and PPRC have recommended massive food and cash support for the poor.
The two organisations conducted their survey from April 4 to April 12 to assess Covid-19 fallouts on the poor. With a sample size of 5,500, the survey findings say that one in every four marginalised people is not getting food.
People's affordability and food consumption decreased as the incomes dried up, claimed the survey.
Dr Hossain Zillur and Dr Imranrecommended the government to allocate Tk5,600 crore per month for 3.82 crore people who were already below the poverty line.
They also suggested providing food and cash assistance to people who have become newly poor due to the virus fallout.
Dr Imran said the sample showed people's incomes reduced more than 70 percent. Slum-dwellers' incomed dropped by 82 percent, while the rural poor lost 79 percent on their income.
"Around 47 percent people cut their cost of consumption due to fall in incomes. The poor slashed 40 percent expenditure for food while people vulnerable to poverty reduced 36 percent in this segment," he said.
Imran added that at least 27 percent of the poor are not getting three meals a day.
"Even the 11 percent people above the poverty lineare unable to afford daily meals owing to the fallout of coronavirus," added the BIGD executive director.
The survey says 67 percent slum dwellers in urban spaces and 82 percent rural people are surviving on family savings during this crisis. Furthermore, as many as 52 percent urban and 36 percent rural people have taken loans to meet daily expenses.
The survey says many have borrowed from families and friends as few received aid from the government or non-governmental organisations.
The poor will be able to carry on for the next 8 to 14 days with their food stock, cash or cash sources, said Dr Imran.
"As the estimation was done on April 12 and a couple of days have already passed, therefore the poor have already started experiencing a food crisis," he concluded.
Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman said the survey found that the urban poor demanded Tk1,868 while the rural poor sought Tk1,535 as cash assistance on an average.
Zillur, a former advisor to the caretaker government, termed the amounts logical and proposed the government for Tk5,594monthly allocation for the marginalized people.
"Families those earn even 40 percent more than the poverty line are vulnerable to poverty risks. Almost all such families have become poor now. The government needs to announce massive programmes considering them," he noted.
The assistance can be a combination of relief foods and cash. But it must be vast enough to cover all, said Dr Hossain Zillur, commenting that Open Market Sales can play a vital role and the food sale project aimed at low-income people should be resumed.