Quarantine causing Starvation
"For thousands in Pucusana and millions in Peru, starvation has become an even greater fear than Covid 19".
Just like the rest of us, Peru is under lock-down due to Covid 19. They have closed all boarders, most businesses, all restaurants, and gone into quarantine. Peruvian quarantine laws are strict and force all people over the age of 50 to stay in their homes at all times. No cars, other than military vehicles, are allowed to be driven at any time and all roads and highways are closed. Each city is closed off as well, forcing their residence to stay inside it. Strict quarantine rules have been put into place about social distancing and what times you are allowed to buy groceries if you are within walking distance of a mini-market. A curfew is enforced at 6pm every night and those who disobey it or are caught gathering, are arrested and will face legal proceedings putting them in prison for 1-3 years. Yes, this seems extreme but to a 3rd world country with very limited resources, medical supplies and few hospitals, all of this makes sense to stop the spread of Covid 19 from killing hundreds of thousands.
Most Peruvians work job to job, season to season and paycheck to paycheck. In poorer areas like Pucusana, there were 10,700 people already living in devastating poverty before this pandemic even happened. Now they are being forced to stay inside their own neighborhoods, with no way of getting to a mini-market, in order to stop the spread of the virus from the barrios. 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 limited ways of getting food, what are these people to do? For thousands in Pucusana and millions in Peru, starvation has become an even greater fear than Covid 19.
Peruvian President, Martin Vizcarra, has extended the quarantine and curfew regulations for at least another two weeks. The Peruvian State government and local governments are doing all they can to provide food for the poorest people in their areas. An order was given to each Mayor to hand out S/380 sole vouchers to the families living in the barrios. The local government has also been distributing some food. But the food and vouchers are distributed based off who registered on the 2017 census. Over the last two years, the Pucusana barrios have tripled in size because of all the Venezuelan refugees. Therefore, the Peruvian State is only providing food and funds to 43% of the barrios, leaving 57% without food, money or means of obtaining food because they are shut off from the rest of the city. In the last week, and now with the two-week extension, starvation has become a frightening reality for the majority of the families living in the barrios.
Can you imagine living in slums, fearful of an invisible virus infecting its way through your city, while also knowing you have no food to feed your children? Because that is the very real situation millions of people are facing right now. 3rd world countries already lack the manpower, equipment and facilities to handle what is happening with the virus. If hundreds of thousands of people start to starve, how will they successfully fight off the virus at home or in the overloaded hospitals? So many more will die.
The Pucusana Project has been asked to work with local Pucusana nonprofit, La Asociacion Educativa Y Cultural De La IEP Pierre Laplace, to provide funds to purchase food for the poorest families living in a specific barrio called, Nuevo Mundo located in Cerro Colorado, Pucusana, totaling 63 families. These food boxes will feed 315 people for two weeks, maybe a month. We are also working alongside residents from one of the wealthier beach neighborhoods in Pucusana called, Naplo; who are also supplying food to the rest of the barrios. Between all of us, we are trying to feed over 6,000 people living in poverty. Local authorities have agreed to help us transport all purchased food using their vehicles and manpower.
But we need your help! All donations to The Pucusana Project for the month of April will go toward Pucusana Covid 19 relief. Your money will go toward feeding those who are starving and further relief once the pandemic is over in Peru. Please consider donating to this cause.
President of The Pucusana Project