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Peru: Supporting Venezuelan migrants and refugees in times of coronavirus

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Peru was among the first countries in South America to implement a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The country hoped that this crisis would be soon over, but months down the line, the pandemic keeps hitting hard.

For 800,000 Venezuelan migrants and refugees living in Peru, the pandemic has been an even greater challenge. Most of them rely on informal working conditions and on daily jobs on the streets to earn a living. Staying home, while necessary to protect their health, meant they could not earn for months.

Tomas Bermudez and his family live in Peru´s capital city of Lima since 2018, when they decided to flee from extreme poverty in Venezuela. Before the pandemic hit Lima, he used to be a construction worker, but he lost his job due to the lockdown restrictions.

The same happened to his wife Margarita, who used to sell simple goods on the streets. They have been without an income for months and must provide for their 2 children, 8-year old Luis and 14-year old Luisana.

The European Union funds humanitarian interventions in Peru to support Venezuelans who fled their country and those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Among these interventions, the EU funds the NGO Action Against Hunger. The Bermudez family is one of the 1,080 individuals who received humanitarian assistance in the form of psychological support, sexual and reproductive healthcare educational sessions and hygiene kits to be protected from the coronavirus.

As part of this EU-funded programme, Action Against Hunger also coordinates food distributions in a network of shelters where Venezuelan migrants and refugees live. They ensure that the most at-risk individuals, especially elders, children under 5 and persons with disabilities receive daily meals. Personnel working in the shelters also receive both prepared food with a diversified nutritional balance for infants and specific training to independently process food for babies under 2.