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Sobering New Report Reveals COVID-19’s Devastating Impact on the World’s Poor

March 15, 2022

Audrey Garden

BALTIMORE – Today, World Relief published a new report revealing the immense impact of COVID-19 on the world’s poor. This report is one of the most comprehensive of its kind, corresponding to the two-year anniversary of when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic.

“The pandemic has grown into one of the greatest humanitarian issues in recorded history, with the World Bank showing that in 2020 alone, 97 million more people were pushed into poverty as a result of COVID-19,” said Matilda Matitha, World Relief Malawi country director.

There is virtually no aspect of livelihood and employment that COVID-19 has not interfered with. The pandemic has disrupted every area of the healthcare system worldwide and has had a particularly devastating impact on women and children.

“Women have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” said Lanre Williams-Ayedun, senior vice president of international programs. “Job losses, increased pressures of care and domestic work, reduced hours and strains on both physical and mental health have contributed to the disproportionate socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 for women globally. Gender-based violence has also intensified since the pandemic began.”

An estimated three to four years of progress in ending extreme poverty has been lost because of COVID-19. This report expands upon the many complex factors which led to that regression.

“Our end goal with this report is not simply education. It’s a push toward compassionate, thoughtful action that recognizes we are part of a global community. We are more than just U.S. citizens — we are citizens of the world, and right now, our world needs open hands and open hearts,” said Myal Greene, president and CEO of World Relief.

The report invites Christians to pray and take action. It also encourages the U.S. government and other advocates to engage in a consistent, thoughtful, and compassionate response to reverse the devastating effects of COVID-19 on those in poverty.    

“Our prayer is that this report would incline the hearts of readers to more closely come alongside the vulnerable in their time of such great need,” said Jenny Yang, senior vice president of advocacy and policy at World Relief.

To view a recording of World Relief’s press conference on the report, visit:

To read the full report from World Relief, visit

To download a PDF version of this release, click here.

About World Relief

World Relief is a global Christian humanitarian organization that brings sustainable solutions to the world’s greatest problems – disasters, extreme poverty, violence, oppression, and mass displacement. For over 75 years, we’ve partnered with churches and community leaders in the U.S. and abroad to bring hope, healing and transformation to the most vulnerable.

Learn more at

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