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According to dictionary, overwhelming means:

very great or very strong; so powerful that you cannot resist it or decide how to react

Therefore it is clear that:

She has an overwhelming desire to achieve the goals.

Means that you cannot dissuade her from chasing her goals.

We faced overwhelming obstacles.

Means that we encountered some obstacles which we cannot overcome.

But I am not sure if it is correct and meaningful to say that:

In impoverished countries, poor people suffer from an overwhelming economic situation.

What does it mean to say "overwhelming situation"? Is it great like "overwhelming desire"? or it is disappointing like "overwhelming obstacles"?

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    There is no ambiguity. Overwhelming obstacles are more than a disappointment, they are something you absolutely cannot deal with. Dec 14, 2021 at 8:40

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In impoverished countries, poor people suffer from an overwhelming economic situation.

No, overwhelming is much larger than and more impactful than disappointing.

Collins Dictionary explains as follows.

If something is overwhelming, it affects you very strongly, and you do not know how to deal with it.

We could hence say that in impoverished countries, poor people are affected very strongly by the economic situation and do not know how to deal with it.

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  • Perhaps even stronger than ‘do not know’ how to deal with it — they have no way to deal with it.
    – gidds
    Jan 10 at 14:14

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