Peru struggles in lockdown
Peru was one of the first countries in Latin America to go into lockdown on the 16th of March. Peru is still in lockdown, 3 months later, as Covid19 cases and deaths continue to rise.
The quick response to Covid19 came about when the Government realised they were ill prepared for a global pandemic. Peru only has 500 ICU beds across the whole country of 32 million people. While Peru seemed to be doing everything right, the lockdown has not been successful with nearly 6000 deaths.
Listen to Radio New Zealand’s interview of Kathy Yong, Fundraising Director from NPH Peru, here.
Many people in Peru think the death toll is an underestimate, as testing abilities are a lot more limited than in developed countries.
For the first time in Peru’s history, the government has given some support to workers. However this support is not reaching 70% of the population who work in the informal sector. Those who are most in need of support are simply not receiving it.
Why have Covid19 cases increased in Peru?
“Many people in Peru don’t have refrigerators which means they need to shop frequently during the lockdown. Social distancing is not often enforced in market places or supermarkets. This has led to a rise in Covid19 cases,” says Kathy Yong.
Police and military have been patrolling the streets to enforce lockdown.
As Covid19 deaths show no sign of slowing down, the Government talks about easing lockdown restrictions. “We are worried about opening up, but for many people lockdown means a slow death from starvation,” Kathy says.
Those who are struggling to put food on the table during lockdown have been forced onto the streets to find ways of making money, such as busking.
The areas that have experienced the highest levels of Covid19 cases are the slum areas in Lima, the Amazon and Northern regions which experience high levels of poverty. Many people in these regions are seasonal workers, who rely on coming to Lima for part of the year to make ends meet for their families. In times of crisis, it’s often the poor who are most adversely affected.
This is also true for the vulnerable children that NPH Peru supports, two hours South of Lima. There are real concerns about meeting the needs of these children during this challenging time.
You can help vulnerable children and families in Peru during the pandemic by donating here: www.nph-nz.org/donation (Reference: Peru)
Black and white photos are courtesy of Mercedes Luna Minaya from Lima, Peru.