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Economic crisis hits global poor

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Last year's global slump will 'condemn 53 million more people to extreme povertyThe global financial crisis will condemn about 53 million more people to extreme poverty and contribute to 1.2 million child deaths in the next five years, according to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

More than one billion people, or one-in-six people on the planet, are struggling to meet basic food needs, leading to disease - and ultimately death - in many young children and pregnant women, a report, published on Friday, said.

However, despite these setbacks, the joint reportsaid the overall number of people living on less than $1.25 a day, the definition of "extreme poverty", would fall to 920 million by 2015 compared to 1.8 billion in 1990. This puts emerging nations broadly on track to achieve a United Nations "Millennium Development Goal" of halving 1990 rates of extreme poverty by 2015.

"The financial crisis was a severe external shock that hit poor countries hard," Murilo Portugal, the IMF deputy managing director, said in a statement.

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