The number of families requesting help has increased during the pandemic, the head of Portugal’s non-profit União das Misericórdias Portuguesas (UMP) told local media on Sunday.
Manuel de Lemos told journalists at the end of a meeting with the country’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, that there were “numerous examples” of people asking for help from institutions supported by the non-profit association, which supports vulnerable residents all over the country.
He also criticised a lack of support on behalf of the country. “The state doesn’t support the social sector, it is the social sector that supports that state,” he said.
The head of the National Confederation of Solidarity Institutions, Lino Maia, who was also present at the meeting with the president, highlighted the role of these institutions in fighting poverty during the pandemic, and also criticised the state for its lack of support, saying the budget had ignored this sector of society.
According to a recent report by the World Bank, global extreme poverty is expected to rise in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years.