Trinidad and Tobago recorded its first case of COVID-19 on 12 March, leading the Government to institute public health measures and to ban entry for nationals and non-nationals in late March to avoid the spread of the disease. Additionally, on 30 March, a stay-at-home order was adopted resulting in the lockdown of all non-essential services and businesses.
The restrictions left many individuals from the host population and the Venezuelan community with reduced access to services to meet their basic needs. At the same time, COVID-19 had an immediate impact on work and livelihoods opportunities, increasing vulnerability to food insecurity and evictions.
As part of the COVID-19 response, NFI kits with hygiene items were distributed to 330 Venezuelan refugees and migrants (126 men, 99 women and 105 children).
Partners implemented multipurpose cash-based interventions for 324 and 6 vulnerable individuals respectively from Venezuelan and host communities (192 women, 138 men).
R4V partners disseminated informational products on COVID-19 amidst the outbreak, to promote awareness and public safety. Partners also commenced a COVID-19 public information campaign geared towards informing refugees and migrants about precautionary measures, availability of support hotlines, and information released by the Government. Posters and mass e-mails were disseminated. Additionally, broadcasts to community mobilizers, NGOs, and key actors, reached over 9,000 Venezuelan refugees and migrants.
Health partners, though forced to suspend ‘in-person’ clinic services, were able to safely deliver over 1,500 healthcare services. To mitigate the closure of clinics, partners proposed the introduction of telemedicine as an alternative, including with a hotline / triage procedure staffed by medical personnel from the Venezuelan community, thereby allowing partners to reach more persons in need during COVID-19.
One R4V partner provided remote psychosocial support to 26 Venezuelans, of which 18 were GBV related cases, while three rotating hotlines were implemented to assist and provide information, counselling, to record cases and make referrals.
Direct emergency assistance was also provided to 37 victims of trafficking and their dependents who received COVID-19 NFI packages and food assistance.
Engagement in web-based education remained prominent through the Equal Place initiative, which adjusted its delivery method to fully online education services. Over 400 tablets were distributed to refugee and migrant children. Facilitators supported parents in assisting students while at home, by organizing students into groups and engaging with them through e-learning platforms.