Coronavirus will create 29 million new poor in Latin America
The coronavirus pandemic, which totals nearly five million infections worldwide, will leave more than 29 million new poor in Latin America and cause thousands of internal displacements, according to the NGO Acción Contra el Hambre.
"The contraction of 5% of the economy and the increase of more than 11 points in unemployment, according to a recent report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, will make this the greatest crisis of the last century," said Benedetta Lettera, head of the NGO region, in a statement.
The uncertain situation and the economic slowdown have caused thousands of internal displacements between the countries, because those who lived in the big cities have been left without jobs and want to return to their cities of origin.
América Arias, director of Action Against Hunger in Peru, also stressed that the new restrictions to curb the virus have a great impact on the food needs of millions of people.
Arias explained that in countries like Peru, with more than 88,000 confirmed cases, more than 165,000 people have asked the permission to leave the capital, because the loss of employment makes it impossible for them to maintain themselves.
John Orlando, country director in Colombia, also expressed his concern for the hundreds of Venezuelans who are trying to return to their country. He noted that "buses arrive from different countries to the border departments and, in these situations, it is essential to guarantee the means of protection for minimize the risks of contagion on both sides of the border."
According to Miguel Ángel García, director for Central America, in countries like Guatemala, there is concern about the lack of diagnostic capacity due "to the structural weakness of one of the least endowed health systems in Latin America," in addition to the increase in the movement of migrants.
"Given the impossibility of achieving sufficient economic income, we can expect an increase in child malnutrition, which already affected half of the children under five in the country before the pandemic", said García.
In addition, the Governments of Mexico and the United States have continued to deport migrants who are detained at the borders to Guatemala, which has forced many of them to return infected to their countries of origin, at a time when the healthcare system is subjected to its greatest stress test.
Acción Contra el Hambre works on the distribution of food and sanitary protection equipment in Peru, Colombia, Guatemala and Nicaragua, in addition to carrying out nutritional monitoring of children at risk of food in highly populated cities in Latin America, such as Bogotá.