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Friday, October 9, 1998 Published at 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK

World: Americas

Asian poverty up due to financial crisis

A United Nations report says the financial crisis in Asia is leading to an alarming return to poverty in the region.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development said poverty levels were rising fast against a background of drastic cuts in social spending and distastrous slumps in income.

It said that in Indonesia, government figures showed students were leaving school because of high fees, making the use of child labour more likley; And in Thailand, it recorded a considerable drop in state spending on infrastructure.

The UN report said the rural poor were particularly vulnerable, as the prices of agricultural goods and food rise sharply.

It says unemployment in urban areas was also severe.

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