Lima, Peru 19 January, 2021- Peru is struggling to cope with the burden of COVID-19 cases on its healthcare system as cases continue to rise. It is one of the hardest hit countries per population size on the continent, but also globally. On top of this the country has also faced strict lockdowns which have meant people have struggled to work, and provide for their families, especially when it comes to food. CARE is responding with 'soup kitchens' and food parcels to help support some of the most vulnerable communities.
Marilú Martens, National Director of CARE Peru says;
"the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 in Peru has limited the access many families have to basic food stuffs in the market. As a consequence, some of the most vulnerable people including migrants, women headed families and those who work in the informal sector are struggling to feed their families. In Peru over 70% of people work in the informal sector and this rises to over 88% among Venezuelans. These are the people who find their livelihoods worst affected by COVID-19 lockdowns."
It is estimated that around 3 million people in Peru, and a further 14 million people across the South American continent could be pushed into poverty and hunger as a result of the pandemic and preventive lockdown measures.
Since the Covid-19 emergency began, CARE Peru has adapted all its projects to the "new normal", seeking to digitize itself to continue with training and monitoring. This has included information sharing on proper hygiene practices to stem the spread of the disease.
In response to the pandemic, and in particular, the worsening food situation CARE Peru has set up soup kitchens in some of the most vulnerable areas of Lima -- catering to refugees and migrants as well as local populations. Training is also provided to run the kitchens so that going forward the project will be self-sustainable. CARE Peru has also provided over 5,000 food packages including 380 soles to buy products that benefits can find in their local markets, as well as information and training of proper nutrition.
The pandemic has hit us all very hard. Many neighbors have lost their jobs. Therefore, we cannot stop, today more than ever we have to continue helping and providing a daily nutritious meal to all the families that need us most. That is my motivation, and the motivation of my "popular dining room", says Rosa Mendoza, Kitchen Partner of the "Alimenta Su Fuerza" campaign.
Martens adds; "how can you stay healthy if you do not get enough to eat? The pandemic is deeply affecting people's daily lives and also their livelihoods. The soup kitchens cater to the most vulnerable people, assuring them a nutritious daily diet so they can stay strong to work and care for their families during these difficult times."