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The Growing Tragedy of Extreme Poverty in Greece

IN PICTURES: teleSUR takes a look at the depression in Greece imposed by the wealthy financial powers and predatory lenders of the EU.

Greek living standards have plummeted as unemployment, poverty, inequality and harsh austerity measures continue to rip away at the already frayed social fabric of the Mediterranean country.

While the global financial crisis has struck other euro zone countries hard, none have been forced to take out as many loans as Greece, whose “rescue” deals with the European Union and International Monetary Fund have come on the condition that austerity measures and deregulation be introduced by the government – allowing the country to avoid bankruptcy, yet transforming the Greek crisis into a recession and eventually, a major depression.

Eurostat data has shown that 22.2 percent of the population were "severely materially deprived" in 2015. Over 75 percent of households suffered a significant income reduction last year, a survey by business confederation GSEVEE and Marc pollsters found. A third had at least one unemployed member and 40 percent said they had to cut back on food spending. The Greek Ombudsman says a growing number of people struggle to pay utility bills. In a no-frills Athens neighborhood, a soup kitchen run by the Orthodox church serves 400 meals a day over four sittings in under two hours.

Now, the EU and IMF are demanding that the government of left-leaning coalition Syriza make a further 7 billion Euro (or US$7,428,050) payment by July or risk defaulting on its debt, which remains at a staggering 330 billion euros – over US$350 billion.

teleSUR takes a look at the human face of Greek poverty, a result of the rapacious lending policies of the imperialist powers and predatory creditors within the European Union.

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People line up as they wait to enter a soup kitchen run by the Orthodox church in Athens, Greece, Feb. 15, 2017.
People line up as they wait to enter a soup kitchen run by the Orthodox church in Athens, Greece, Feb. 15, 2017. Photo:Reuters
People eat at a soup kitchen run by the Orthodox church in Athens, Greece, Feb. 15, 2017.
People eat at a soup kitchen run by the Orthodox church in Athens, Greece, Feb. 15, 2017. Photo:Reuters
Children
Children's clothes to be donated to impoverished Greeks are arranged in a stock room at an Athens Municipality-run centre in Athens, Greece, Feb. 17, 2017. Photo:Reuters
A man waits to have his clothes washed by the Ithaca mobile laundry service for the homeless in central Athens, Greece, Feb. 12, 2017.
A man waits to have his clothes washed by the Ithaca mobile laundry service for the homeless in central Athens, Greece, Feb. 12, 2017. Photo:Reuters
An elderly woman searches through donated clothes at a soup kitchen run by the Orthodox church in Athens, Greece, Feb. 15, 2017.
An elderly woman searches through donated clothes at a soup kitchen run by the Orthodox church in Athens, Greece, Feb. 15, 2017. Photo:Reuters
People line up to apply for a social benefit from the Directorate of Social Welfare and Health of the Municipality of Athens, Greece, Feb. 14, 2017.
People line up to apply for a social benefit from the Directorate of Social Welfare and Health of the Municipality of Athens, Greece, Feb. 14, 2017. Photo:Reuters
Shopping carts full of plastic bags containing food supplies for impoverished Greeks are seen at an Athens Municipality-run centre in Athens, Greece, Feb. 17, 2017.
Shopping carts full of plastic bags containing food supplies for impoverished Greeks are seen at an Athens Municipality-run centre in Athens, Greece, Feb. 17, 2017. Photo:Reuters
The monthly food supplies that were given out in February by an Athens Municipality-run centre are pictured in Athens, Greece, Feb. 17, 2017.
The monthly food supplies that were given out in February by an Athens Municipality-run centre are pictured in Athens, Greece, Feb. 17, 2017. Photo:Reuters
People eat at a soup kitchen run by the Orthodox church in Athens, Greece, Feb. 15, 2017.
People eat at a soup kitchen run by the Orthodox church in Athens, Greece, Feb. 15, 2017. Photo:Reuters
A man waits to have his clothes washed by the Ithaca mobile laundry service for the homeless in central Athens, Greece, Feb. 12, 2017.
A man waits to have his clothes washed by the Ithaca mobile laundry service for the homeless in central Athens, Greece, Feb. 12, 2017. Photo:Reuters
People make their way outside the main fish market of Athens, Greece, Feb. 18, 2017.
People make their way outside the main fish market of Athens, Greece, Feb. 18, 2017. Photo:Reuters
Food is laid out on a table at a soup kitchen run by the Orthodox church in Athens, Greece, Feb. 15, 2017.
Food is laid out on a table at a soup kitchen run by the Orthodox church in Athens, Greece, Feb. 15, 2017. Photo:Reuters
Blankets belonging to a homeless person are seen on a pavement in central Athens, Greece, Feb. 15, 2017.
Blankets belonging to a homeless person are seen on a pavement in central Athens, Greece, Feb. 15, 2017. Photo:Reuters
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