Posted at 11:55 AM ET, 01/12/2012

In Greece, poor parents are abandoning their children

A rising number of children in Greece are being abandoned by their parents, who say they cannot afford to provide for them because of the deepening financial crisis, the BBC reports.


A child waits in line to receive food distributed from the Greek Orthodox Church in Athens. (Petros Giannakouris - AP)

Athens-based Ark of the World, a nonprofit group that takes care of youth, says children as young as newborns have been left at their doorsteps. One parent left her 4-year-old girl at the center with a note that read: “I will not be coming to pick up Anna today because I cannot afford to look after her. Please take good care of her. Sorry.”

With the unemployment at 19 percent in the Mediterranean nation and the country “deeply indebted and nearly bankrupt,” according to The Post’s Tony Faiola, the abandonment of children seems to be a sign of a worsening situation. Faiola described the scene from Athens on Tuesday:

Overburdened public hospitals are facing acute shortages of everything from syringes to bandages because of budget cuts, with hiring freezes forcing the mothballing of operating rooms even as more unemployed are relying on the public health system.
 Rates of homelessness, suicide, crime and HIV cases from intravenous drug use are jumping.

Although homelessness was mitigated for generations by the closeness of family, officials told Faiola that the some 1,000 beds available in Athens shelters are now all occupied.

Dimitris Varnavas, president of the Federation of Greek Hospital Doctors’ Unions, said it’s safe to say that the crisis is no longer just financial — it’s now a humanitarian one, too.

By  |  11:55 AM ET, 01/12/2012

Tags:  World, Greece, financial crisis, homelessness

 
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