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Greek city on brink of humanitarian crisis

Friday, March 30, 2012 - 01:52

March 30 - The residents of a once thriving shipbuilding town are on the brink of a humanitarian crisis according to aid agency Doctors of the World. Hayley Platt reports.

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**UPDATED WITH CORRECTED SOUNDBITE** Perama in Greece was once a thriving ship building city. But over the years worked dried up and firms moved abroad where production is cheaper. It's estimated that roughly 60 percent of the population is unemployed and the aid agency Doctors of the World says it's close to becoming a humanitarian crisis. Nikitas Kanakis is the agency's President. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF DOCTORS OF THE WORLD GREECE NIKITAS KANAKIS SAYING: "This area was poor even before the crisis, unemployment was high and the people had problems before. Now they're finding it difficult to survive." Many of the residents have no money for medicine or health insurance - and now need help with basic staples such as milk and bread. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) VOLUNTEER PAEDIATRICIAN LIANA MAILI SAYING: "Many of the children we see now are neglected children. Children that should have seen a doctor a long time ago and haven't been taken yet."" Greeks have had to get use to tough austerity measures imposed on them by the government to meet strict debt cutting targets. That was the deal it agreed with the European Union in order to receive a 130 billion euro bailout. Here, however, there's been little relief. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) 50-YEAR-OLD UNEMPLOYED FATHER OF THREE ANTONIS GIATRAS SAYING: "When you're supporting five people - plus myself, of course - to feed them, for everyday things, and you're unemployed, the problem is huge. There are some days when we have no bread or food." (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) 36-YEAR-OLD UNEMPLOYED NEW MOTHER SPIRIDOULA FIRLEMI SAYING: "I feel disappointed in the government, and I don't want to vote for anyone. They all tell lies. Now they say they will cut the family allowance benefits for those that have three children. So what's the point of having kids if they're going to starve." According to the national statistics office, the poverty rate has reached more than 20 percent in Greece. Greeks will soon go to the polls, but few are counting on a quick fix. Hayley Platt, Reuters.

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Greek city on brink of humanitarian crisis

Friday, March 30, 2012 - 01:52