China ensures basic needs of vulnerable group amid COVID-19 fallout

BEIJING, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) — China has been pooling efforts to ensure the basic needs of its impoverished and vulnerable population as COVID-19 has worsened their living standards, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs Monday.

In order to offset the epidemic’s impact on the most impoverished population in the country, authorities have carried out a series of plans to ensure their basic livelihood, said Liu Xitang, an official with the ministry at a press conference.

The plans include conducting a thorough census of people in need of social relief, expanding the relief’s coverage and increasing financial support for severely-impoverished and epidemic-affected populations and areas, said Liu.

In 2020, the livelihood of another 1.47 million people, who live either below or slightly above the poverty line, is now guaranteed by social relief, said Liu, adding that the country provided temporary subsidies for 7.46 million people this year.

In the meantime, the country diverted more financial relief funds to areas hit by the epidemic, said Liu, citing that central China’s Hubei Province, which was hardest-hit by the epidemic, received a total poverty relief fund of 8.97 billion yuan (1.36 billion U.S. dollars) this year, a 38 percent increase year on year.

Liu said that with the aforementioned efforts, the impact of the epidemic on the country’s poverty alleviation campaign is controllable and that the goal of holding the poverty alleviation bottom line can be achieved in time. 

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