Covid in Peru
Last update: 2.10.21
Peru was the 2nd epicenter in South America for most of 2020. In Jan 2021, they entered the 2nd wave of Covid and it has been even worse than the first. They currently have over 1,200,000 people infected and 43,000 people have died. At the beginning of Feb 2021, the President ordered all of Lima and many other districts back into full quarantine and lock down. This is only to last a few weeks but we believe it will continue until the vaccine is available to the public, which will be months.
Just like last year, quarantine causes starvation in the impoverished areas because of difficultly to buy food and lack of work. In addition, Peru's medical system was declared "collapsed" back in May 2020 but is now completely overrun with the sick. If you need treatment, your only option is the private clinics which are costing more and more each day. Our latest quote was $8,000 USD a day. Only the rich can afford this which means the majority of sick Peruvians are left with no medical help and will die. Just like back in March 2020, the sick are told to go home and isolate themselves. If someone died in your house, you must wrap them in cloth, plastic or cardboard and place them in the street the following morning for a truck to pick them up.
Pucusana Peru is made up of thousands of people living in slum-type poverty who do not have access to clean water or daily food, leaving them the most susceptible to the virus and starvation. Covid is spreading fast in the slums because these people live in nothing more than cardboard shacks. Quarantine is closing off impoverished neighborhoods from their local markets and stores for food. So if you are not sick, you are most likely starving. Lack of work has also increased crime because people are desperate for money and food.
To learn more about what is going on in Peru, please read our latest blog posts.
What are we doing to help?
Pucusana has a population of 15-20,000 people. At least 11,000 of those people are living in devastating poverty. And that was before the pandemic happened. These people do not have clean water, many do not have electricity and they all live in shack type homes. With no work, money and very limited ways of getting food, thousands of Pucusanian people began to starve in April 2020.
For most of 2020, The Pucusana Project distributed food bags to thousands of people each month. We also supplied a dozen Soup Kitchens regularly, helped provide PPE to the hospital, gave school supplies to help with online learning and to finish the year off, our volunteer team gave Christmas gifts to hundreds of impoverished children.
Feeding the Starving
The Pucusana Project has been providing the funds needed to feed thousands living in the slum type neighborhoods in Pucusana. We have specifically provided food bags to dozens of impoverished
neighborhoods, totaling around 6,000 people for the last 6 months. In October 2020, we also started supplying Soup Kitchens to help alleviate the hunger crisis that continues to grow in Pucusana Peru.
Food bags: 1 of our food bags feeds a family of five for 2-3 weeks and contains long shelf-life items like rice, eggs, canned goods and potatoes.
1 food bag costs around $40 USD.
In Peru, the typical school year starts in March and ends in early December. But because of Covid, all schools have been closed and put online. Having school online is extremely difficult in places like Pucusana because very few families can afford a home computer and it is almost impossible to distribute class materials on foot. It is very likely that all students will miss an entire year of their education, if not more.
So The Pucusana Project has distributed short-stories, puzzles, math equations, crayons and notebooks to the children in some of the neighborhoods as a way to inspire creativity and encourage what education we can at home.
The need for personal protective gear became very clear after three of the four doctors in Pucusana were infected by Covid. Sadly, in the beginning of May, one of the four Doctors we had died. Since then, The Pucusana Project has worked with other nonprofits and donors to buy what PPE is available from Lima City for the local Pucusana clinic and hospital. Prices are inflated and items are very difficult to obtain but with some luck, we were able to equip the medical staff as best as we could in late May, 2020. Unfortunately, they are still in need of many items and equipment.
On the ground
Elena Prado (pictured far left) and her son Isaac (pictured 2nd left) have been the local face of The Pucusana Project during the pandemic.
From their home they make phone calls to organize food distribution with the local authorities and prepare food boxes with local mini markets. Isaac even made breakfast meals every morning from 5am-10am during the month of May to feed the impoverished neighborhoods we are responsible for. They work with a hand full of neighborhood leaders like, Miriam (pictured right), to make sure the right starving households receive food during quarantine.