One study shows how 20 countries are very vulnerable. Many of them are found in Sub-Saharan Africa, but they also include: Vietnam, Laos, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia.

Washington (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The world’s poorest nations are beginning to feel the effects of the global financial crises and if there is no immediate intervention then we will be faced with an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe. That is the result of a study carried out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently issued by its director Dominique Strauss-Khan. Many of the counties at greatest risk are found in sub-Saharan African, but also Asia. The most vulnerable of these are Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Laos and Vietnam.

The IMF affirms that poor nations are now integrated in the world economy and this exposes them to the global financial crisis. The impact on them is described as the "third wave" of the downturn; after first affecting the advanced and then the emerging economies. The poor nations are likely to feel the impact through a downturn in trade and falls in foreign investment and remittances - money sent home by people working abroad, the fund adds.

For now, more than 20 countries are particularly vulnerable, but if global growth and financing conditions deteriorate further, the number of vulnerable countries could almost double. According to Strauss-Khan “This puts at risk the major achievements of higher growth, lower poverty, and greater political stability that many low-income countries have made over the past decade”.

The IMF director is asking donor nations to increase their commitment to “preventing a humanitarian crisis” and increase their aid by 25 billion dollars to help face the emergency.