Spanish turning to charities in economic crisis
A Spanish charity said it received 50 percent more requests for help last year due to the economic crisis.Madrid – A Spanish charity said Wednesday it received 50 percent more requests for help last year due to the economic crisis, mostly from people seeking basic necessities such as food and shelter.
The charity, Caritas, said it helped some 600,000 people in 2008, up from 400,000 the previous year.
In some regions that were particularly hard hit by the crisis, such as Andalucia in the south, requests for help shot up 70 percent.
Most of the requests involved basic necessities such as food, shelter and health care, but some also sought jobs, clothes, books, school supplies and even credit.
Most were between 20 and 40 years of age with young children, recently unemployed, single mothers or homeless men, said Caritas, which has 6,000 offices throughout Spain.
The head of Caritas, Silverio Agea, condemned what he said was the failure of social services to help these people, noting that 52 percent of those who came to the charity for help had already approached public authorities.
Spain's economy, Europe's fifth largest, has been hit particularly hard by the global economic downturn after a decade-long boom driven by the construction industry came to an end.
The crisis has also pushed up unemployment, which hit 17.36 percent in the first quarter, more than double the average for the European Union.
AFP / Expatica