Amid Greece's deepening financial crisis, one family's struggle

21 PHOTOS
Families struggle to survive in Greece
See Gallery
Families struggle to survive in Greece
Panagiotis and Argyro Argyros brush their teeth as they get ready for school in the Keratsini neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, March 31, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
Argyro and Olga Argyrou are seen in the kitchen of their house in the Keratsini neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
Olga Argyrou reheats some rice for her children at their house in the Keratsini neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
The baby of the Argyros family cries on the bed at their house in the Keratsini neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
Bowls with leftover rice are seen on the kitchen table at the Argyros family house in the Keratsini neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
Kostas Argyros feeds his baby daughter at their house in the Keratsini neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
The Argyros family have breakfast at their house in the Keratsini neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, March 31, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
Olga Argyrou hugs her baby as her sons Gavriil (C) and Panagiotis play next to her at their house in the Keratsini neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
Laundry is piled up on a washing machine in the Argyros' family house in the Keratsini neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
Panagiotis Argyros watches cartoons on television at his house in the Keratsini neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
Kostas Argyros and his daughter Argyro leave for school in the Keratsini neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, March 31, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
Olga Argyrou is seen at her house in the Keratsini neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, March 28, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
The Argyros family receive goods from "Theofilos", an NGO for big families in Athens, Greece, March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
The Argyros family get into their car, which was donated, after receiving goods from "Theofilos", an NGO for big families in Athens, Greece, March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
Panagiotis and Gavriil Argyros play at a local park in the Keratsini neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
The baby daughter of Kostas and Olga Argyros rests in her parents' bed at their house in the Keratsini neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
Kostas Argyros drives his family to a local park in the Keratsini neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
Kostas and Olga Argyros take their children to a local park in the Keratsini neighbourhood in Athens, Greece, April 26, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
Argyro Argyrou opens the fridge at the kitchen of her house at the suburb of Keratsini in Athens, Greece, March 27, 2017. Picture taken March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
An old distribution panel is seen at the entrance of the apartment building where the Argyros family lives, at the suburb of Keratsini in Athens, Greece, March 27, 2017. Picture taken March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

ATHENS (Reuters) - Seven years into Greece's deepening economic crisis, those living on the breadline have been hit hard.

The Argyros family are emblematic of the poverty in Greece after years of austerity demanded by the country's international creditors.

Five years since abandoning their barren Aegean island of Leros for Athens, they are trapped in a vicious cycle of unemployment and debt.

Kostas Argyros, 35, picks up only occasional work as an odd-job man and his 30-year-old wife Olga, a nurse, has been unemployed for a nearly decade.

They live in a tiny, 49-square-metre apartment with their four small children and burn wood to heat their home in winter. Food is cooked on a small gas stove, and hot water is scarce.

The only evening light is the blue glare of a TV screen, for fear of racking up more debt. Five-watt lightbulbs provide a dim glow. The life they had hoped for appears as far away as ever.

"We came here for a better future," Olga said. "But things went from bad to worse."

Greece is on its third international bailout since 2010, struggling to contain a huge debt mountain that has brought it to the brink of being thrown out of the euro zone.

In exchange for the money, European Union and International Monetary Fund creditors have demanded budget austerity, such as more than a dozen cuts to pensions.

A quarter of the workforce is unemployed, and nearly a third live in poverty.

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.