Dominican Rep. + 5 more

Caribbean Situation Report June 2021

Situation Report
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• The International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants was hosted by the Government of Canada on 17 June and included representatives from Caribbean countries. The RMRP 2022 planning process was officially launched at a regional level. Additionally, World Refugee Day and Pride Month were observed by R4V agencies and government counterparts subregionally.

• During the reporting period, Aruba saw eased COVID-19 restrictions. Area bans were lifted, masks were no longer mandatory but establishments could impose their use, and distancing proocols remained. Persons with all doses of the vaccine were no longer required to quarantine upon arrival into the country. The DVG (Department of Health) continued its vaccination campaign, although skepticism and misinformation over the effects of the vaccine and the spread of the virus continued among small sectors of the population. Partners were concerned that the focus on COVID-19 was causing the population to neglect precautions against other diseases like dengue and Zika, particularly in light of the impending rainy season when such diseases are normally on the rise. The 2021 RMRP hard copy was officially shared with Aruban authorities. Additionally, the government-assisted foodbank took over logistics and distribution of the Red Cross national food assistance program in the country.

• The Government of Curaçao lifted lockdown measures and removed previously imposed curfews. The tourism sector re-opened and R&Ms and host communities were able to restart work within the service sector. An R4V partner took over the former Red Cross food aid project in the country, officially kicking-off with pre-registration and verification of beneficiaries on June 24.

• The state of emergency remained in effect in the Dominican Republic with a permanent curfew and mobility restrictions in place. After the first phase of the regularization process in which approximately 43,000 Venezuelans requested an extension of their stay, the second phase consisting of visa applications began in late June. The visa application center opened to the public on 27 June and promoters from the information hubs (ventanillas) were the first Venezuelans to obtain their visas.

• Venezuelan R&Ms were able to access COVID-19 vaccines in Guyana although there is limited data available on the number of Venezuelans vaccinated to date. Vaccination campaigns remained ongoing with sites set up throughout the country, including drive-through vaccination centers at malls. However, slight delays in vaccine shipments were reported. Further, persistent heavy rainfall resulted in severe flooding in all Hinterland regions (outside Georgetown/Region 4) prompting the Civil Defense Commission (CDC) to declare a level 2 National emergency. CDC and R4V Agencies led joint relief efforts. Hinterland communities have always been difficult to access due to limited infrastructure, and the flooding has amplified an already difficult situation.

• Trinidad and Tobago continued experiencing spikes of new COVID-19 infections and related deaths. The state of emergency in place since May was extended until August with curfew hours on weekends and public holidays. The Prime Minister also expressed intentions to re-open borders in July, removing the exemption system but with revised health protocols. The country continued to receive shipments of vaccines via COVAX and donations from foreign governments, however, these have been slow to arrive causing a slow roll-out of vaccinations in the country. Unemployment levels worsened, leaving many locals, refugees and migrants struggling to pay rent and purchase food. One partner noted requests for food support had increased by approximately 648% over the last two months. Demand for MHPSS services also saw a significant increase. Partners noted an upswing in GBV cases, as well as evictions in both the R&M and host communities. To ensure the continuity of education, parents sought support to ensure that children remained engaged in learning opportunities online. Media reports on informal surveys suggested that many Venezuelans in the country wished to return home due to the hardships being faced in T&T.