The Poor in Hong Kong are languishing as a result of the pandemic and politics.
Rainbow and her family are struggling to make ends meet in Hong Kong, where the number of poor households has increased as a result of recent political turbulence and the coronavirus outbreak.
Rainbow’s electrician husband had been looking for employment for much of the previous year, leaving their 290 square-foot (27 square-meter) studio flat every morning. He comes back empty-handed on most days.
“He could usually work for 20 to 25 days a month before the pandemic, but now he only gets four to five days of work,” the 43-year-old told AFP, wanting to be identified only by her nickname.
“It was the worst when he couldn’t find work for a month.”
On paper, Hong Kong is one of the wealthiest cities in the world.
Despite a year of severe pandemic spending, per capita income is around $48,000, about the same as Germany, and the government has enviable reserves of around $116 billion.
According to Knight Frank’s annual global Wealth Report, the financial hub is home to more than 5,000 billionaires, as well as another 280,000 persons worth $1 million or more.
However, the city is also a poster child for inequality, with the opposite end of the spectrum telling a different tale.
According to a recent government data, the number of households earning less than HK$9,100 ($1,170) per month has risen to more than 149,000 in the last two years.
Rainbow’s family is now in that income band, having dropped from HK$25,000 a year ago, a pittance in a city that consistently ranks first in global surveys of the most expensive cities to rent or buy property.
She has set a daily food budget of HK$100 for her family, but she makes every effort to ensure that her two children, ages four and eighteen, eat healthily.
“We grownups will eat canned products, but the kids will be able to eat fresh food,” she explained.
After months of massive and often violent political movements in 2019, Hong Kong entered the epidemic with an economy already in serious recession.
Part of the anger was directed at Hong Kong’s unelected pro-Beijing officials, who have struggled to address inequality or solve the acute housing issue that has made Hong Kong one of the world’s most expensive cities.
The rise in poor families since then has been particularly concerning, according to Lai Hiu-tung of the Concern for Grassroots’ Livelihood Alliance charity group, because Hong Kong has few social safety nets.
“The majority of the alleviation measures are temporary or. Brief News from Washington Newsday.