Anew program will help provide food to thousands of poor households in the Philippines. During financial crises, we talk about "belt tightening".

In these days of pandemic stress, the catchphrase is "flattening the curve". Regardless, it's always the poor who suffer disproportionately from these necessary correctives. Thankfully, countries affected by COVID-19 including the Philippines are taking steps to support the poor and hungry.

Financial crises are typically caused by an underlying vice such as greed, poor governance, or corruption. Economists call these "endogenous" factors. In contrast, COVID-19 was triggered by factors outside the spectrum of such human failings. It is an "exogenous" shock, one striking from a place unfamiliar to nearly everyone. And it has hit everyone hard, like a natural disaster.

Yet, some people are hit more heavily than others. Countries that have imposed enhanced quarantine measures to flatten the curve now must find ways to help millions of people who need assistance.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 12 2021, of The Himalayan Times.