15-07-2020 | di COOPI
Peru. Covid-19 and the Venezuela crisis
Peru is one of the most hit countries by coronavirus with 288,477 confirmed cases and 9,860 fatalities. The health emergency and the lockdown measures brought to its knees a country which, despite the economic growth, was already affected by precariousness, social tensions and poor access to essential goods and services such as drinking water. Besides, the Venezuela crisis with its migration flows adds further difficulties to handle. Indeed, Peru currently hosts 860,000 migrants and it is the second hosting country right after Colombia.
In Tumbes, a town located on the border with Ecuador and the main entrance for Venezuelan families, the situation was critical even before the pandemic emergency: 30% of the families who reside in this region do not have access to water services and drinking water, while 60% of the population do not have constant access to water. This situation is even more critical today where access to water is essential to respect hygiene measures and prevent Covid-19.
Maria Montalban, COOPI coordinator in Tumbes, explains:
Covid-19 has made an already difficult situation critical, affecting trade, labour and the health sector. Most of the Peruvians and the Venezuelans families do not have livelihoods due to the spread of the virus. They are unemployed and with no access to basic services such as shelters, food, drinking water, healthcare, education or work. These people, mostly mothers with children, families with minors or elders, belong to the most vulnerable categories. Thus, we provide them with hygiene products, drinking water, diapers and nutritional supplements.
Since March 2020, COOPI has adopted a protocol to enable its staff to operate safely. This will guarantee continuity in COOPI’s interventions. “Every day, before entering the office we measure the temperature and sanitize our hands and shoes with products placed in the office’s hall. We use masks and we do respect social distancing. For those activities in the field, we use personal protective equipment”.
COOPI, together with IOM (International Organization for Migration), is implementing the project “Support for vulnerable families and persons in situations of migratory transit on the northern border of Peru (Phase II)”. During the last month, COOPI distributed 148 water boxes each of 20 litres and 300 hygiene kits including sanitaryware to prevent Covid-19, addressing in total 618 persons.