12 million Syrians are living below the poverty line
Damascus – George Al-Shami
The Syrian Centre for Policy Research has claimed that that more than half of the Syrian population is now living below the poverty line with the unemployment rate
soaring to 84.8 percent.
The non-governmental body described the unemployment rate, which stood at around 44.7 percent by the end of 2012, as having reached \"an alarming level.\"
The NGO said that around 5.5 million Syrian were living below the poverty line before the conflict began in 2011, but that figure has now reached 12 million, out of the country\'s 23 million inhabitants.
Furthermore, the steep depreciation of the Syrian pound against the US dollar has overburdened the Syrian people and led to the sky-rocketing of prices of basic household items.
The pound is now traded in the black market at 180 for one dollar, up from 47 by the beginning of the crisis in mid-March 2011.
The Damascus Chamber of Commerce said in a memorandum that the rising costs of all imported goods have led to a decline in the purchasing value of the Syrian pound, and a sharp deterioration in the average income per capita.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs announced recently that it was working on a project of establishing a body for social security to help the poor and needy through providing subsidies to the most vulnerable families.
Syrian Minister of Labour, Hassan Hijazi, announced that a youth employment programme would be launched this year, which is expected to create 25,000 jobs.