STORY: Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator told Reuters on Tuesday (March 15) that his agency was working with the Kyiv government to avoid a worst case scenario of the economy collapsing and hoped to provide cash transfers to families to buy food and other basics to keep them from fleeing.
"If the conflict is a protracted one, if it were to continue, we are going to see poverty rates escalate very significantly," Steiner told Reuters.
The poverty line is generally defined as purchasing power of $5.50 per person per day, he added in a video interview from New York. Before Russia launched its invasion on February 24, the poverty rate in Ukraine was estimated at 2%, he said.
"We estimate that up to 18 years of development gains of Ukraine could be simply be wiped out in a matter of 12 to 18 months," Steiner said.