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Hard hit Greeks queue for handouts

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 01:33

June 20 - Thousands of Greeks suffering in the country's economic crisis queue for food handouts, as politicians continue talks over forming a coalition. Simon Hanna reports.

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As Greek politicians resume coalition talks on Wednesday, the population continues to suffer. Thousands of residents hurt by rising unemployment and crippling social cuts queued up in the summer heat for produce handouts in Athens. Twenty-seven tonnes of fruit and vegetables were provided by a farmers' organisation to those struggling to afford basic items. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) PEGGY MOSCHONA, 55 YEAR OLD PENSIONER: "Terrible, things are terrible. We are constantly paying taxes. They are cutting pensions. The situation is dramatic and as time goes by, things will just get worse. Although I am optimistic, I don't think I should be." Many of those queuing up have never had to take handouts before. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) ELENI MOSCHIDOU, 56: "Can't you see what I've sunk to? I have never done this before. I have never lived through this before. This is the first time and if needed I'll come back for whatever it is I need." Economic reforms and austerity measures introduced as part of an EU / IMF loan have hit ordinary Greeks hard. Now Greek political parties want to renegotiate the terms of the loan in order to ease the pain of citizens - but it won't be easy. Greece is entering its fifth straight year of recession, with 22 percent of the population unemployed and around a fifth of the country living in poverty. Simon Hanna, Reuters.

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Hard hit Greeks queue for handouts

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 01:33