Covid Sweeping Through Peru: No One Unaffected
On top of being the 2nd epicenter in South America for Covid-19, Peru is now 6th in the world for most cases. With the limited testing Peru has been able to do, they are reporting that over 550,000 people are infected (5.8% of the population) and 27,000 have dead from Covid, but we suspect these numbers to be much higher; so, it's no wonder the government has reinstated lockdown after only a month of opening.
In the beginning of March 2020, Peru closed off all its boarders and imposed strict quarantine rules when only a handful of Covid cases were even reported. One would think they set themselves up for success by taking such extreme precautions, but the truth of the matter is that Peru is a 3rd world country with very limited medical resources and millions living in extreme poverty. For these two reasons alone, Peru has crumbled under the weight of Covid and has become one of the worst impacted countries in the world.
Covid Cases and Death:
Peru was in strict quarantine from March to the end of June and then opened up following social distancing regulations because their economy was crashing. Since then, Covid cases have spiked. The latest news is that 1 in every 3 Peruvians tested for Covid are infected. Because of this, lock-down has been reimplemented in August and no one knows when it will end.
With only 200 ventilators in the entire country when Covid started, their hospitals were completely unequipped to handle the breakout. On top of that, most regions in Peru do not even have a hospital. If they're lucky, the town has one Doctor and a medical clinic. Back in May, Peru's medical system was declared "collapsed". Since then, the sick are being turned away at hospitals and clinics, told to go home and isolate themselves. Families are being told that if someone dies in their house, to wrap them in cloth and cardboard and place them in the street the following morning for a truck to pick them up. "Dead Disposal" has become a coveted job paying $500 a month (double the minimus wage in Peru) despite the tremendous danger it comes with. Mass graves have been dug for the dead throughout South America.
To get a better idea of the what the Peruvian people are going through, read the following story from The Atlantic about Ronald Marin, a low-level worker in the Catholic Church, one of the few Church representatives still working to comfort families and perform funeral services.
Country Wide Starvation:
Peru has millions of people living in slum-type extreme poverty. These people do not have access to clean water or daily food, leaving them the most susceptible to the virus. Quarantine restrictions and the closure of the country has left millions jobless and their families starving. Crime has also risen because people are desperate to put food on their tables. Starvation has become the next pandemic on top of Covid, there is no question.
The Pucusana Project works in a small fishing town with a population of less than 20,000. Our team on the ground reports back with weekly updates on the situation in Peru and our town, Pucusana. They have personally known more than 30 people who have died from Covid since March, including the Mayor and one Doctor. Many times, when our team has gone to deliver food to the human settlements, the family member who picked up the food box the month before, since caught Covid and died between deliveries. This is an average day for Pucusana and Peruvian citizens.
If you are not sick, you are most likely starving. The Pucusana Project does what we can to provide food relief for the starving human settlements in Pucusana and while the people are so grateful, it never seems enough. The community is devastated, and the spirit of the people is depressed. No one leaves their homes out of fear of the virus and muggings making Pucusana feel like a ghost town. The people are suffering but all they can do is try to survive.
Things may seem hopeless in South America, especially for Peru and Brazil, the countries struggling the most with Covid. But the human spirit is not easily crushed, people are resilient when they come together and help each other. Below are a few photos of our last food relief delivery to the human settlements.
The Pucusana Project is dedicated to helping our community in Pucusana fight through this pandemic. We work to feed those starving, to provide school supplies for homeschooling, to work alongside the government to help educate the people about Covid and receive what medical attention is available; but above all else, we give Christian encouragement to lift spirits. Since March, we have fed over 2,600 people living in extreme poverty, each one receiving Bible verses to comfort them and are being told of the many people donating money in the United States solely to help feed them. Communities working to help each other, even across an ocean, is powerful. That power sparks hope and tells those suffering, “You are not alone”.
You. are not. alone!
The Pucusana Project works hard to make a small dent in this pandemic but a dent none the less. As always, we need your help to continue to make that dent. With quarantine being reinstated, food relief is going to continue to be our top priority. Limiting starvation and keeping people’s immune systems strong by providing nutritious food is the least we can do to fight this pandemic. One food box cost only $40 for a family of five and last for three weeks. PLEASE consider donating to our nonprofit and be a part of making a positive dent in this global pandemic.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if one falls, the other will lift up his fellow”.