Last weekend, one week after being made aware of the starvation situation taking place in Pucusana, Peru, The Pucusana Project and our local partners worked with the State military to distribute food to some of the poorest families living in the barrios. Please read our previous blog "Quarantine Causing Starvation" to better understand why we had to do this and how we were able to act so quickly.
For a little over $2,000, The Pucusana Project specifically supplied food to one neighborhood with 63 families totaling 315 people. Other associations supplied food to other impoverished neighborhoods where people were starting to starve. The food bags distributed included items with a long shelf life, like rice, canned goods, flour, dried milk and eggs. These items should yield enough food for the next few weeks – hopefully until lock-down is lifted.
The distribution was a success and worthy of celebration as hundreds of families now have food. For our neighborhood, we included a letter of encouragement and quoted Isaiah 43:1-3 to offer some hope for these unprecedented times. Everyone who received a bag was deeply thankful and relieved. But we only made a small dent. The local government and Pucusana community is still trying to feed the thousands of other starving people in the barrios.
The Coronavirus continues to spread throughout Peru, exhausting government resources and all medical systems. For small villages like Pucusana, with 15,000 people, their local clinic is extremely unequipped to handle the outbreak that is taking place there. Greatly lacking in oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, protective equipment like gloves and face masks, stretchers and respirators; local doctors and nurses do all they can to help the sick. But locals are afraid they will start to see people dying in the streets.
As this pandemic continues, hundreds will continue to die each week and thousands, if not millions, will continue to starve in Peru. As difficult as this pandemic has been for the US, there is no question as to how much worse lock-down and quarantine measures have strained underdeveloped countries."This is truly more than just a pandemic - it is creating a hunger pandemic. This is a humanitarian and food catastrophe," said David M. Beasley, the executive Director of the UN World Food Program in his article, "Covid-19 Could Detonate A Hunger Pandemic, With Millions at Risk, the World Must Act Now" in The Washington Post.
If lock-down and quarantine measures continue, limiting open borders and aid, the UN World Food Program predicts that 300,000 people could starve to death every single day over the next three months – putting three dozen countries into famine. “We have more than a million people who are on the verge of starvation as we speak,” said Beasley.
Everyone in the world has been affected by this virus. Not since World War 2 has the world been united in one topic. Everyone is talking about the Coronavirus and how it has affected their day-to-day. You cannot open social media or turn on the TV without being bombarded with Covid-19 news. Nothing has gone untouched (schools, workplaces, restaurants, Churches, our economy) and many have lost loved ones. But no one seems to be talking seriously about the millions of people worldwide who are starving because of lock-down and quarantine measures. I am not trying to diminish the struggle millions are facing due to the loss of loved ones, employment and economic instability; but I am trying to point out that hundreds of millions of people around the world will continue to starve for months after your life goes back to normal. “Just as this Coronavirus has ambushed the lives of millions, we should brace ourselves now for another pandemic, the hunger pandemic that may follow, sowing the seeds of famine in its wake,” Beasley states.
Beasley ends his column with a call to action, “The 30 million people who are most at risk and the quarter of a billion who are being plunged into jeopardy will depend on us all to make the right call… Now, more than ever, we need that generosity to respond to this unprecedented crisis”. Beasley couldn't be more correct. Even on the much smaller scale that The Pucusana Project operates, we are seeing thousands of people starving and the only way we can help them is if people continue to financially support us.
If you are financially able, please donate to charities. The only truly effective way to help those who are starving is to donate to charities that have the local contacts and manpower to distribute food to impoverished areas quickly. If you choose to donate to The Pucusana Project, you'll help us continue to feed the thousands starving in our fishing village. In the months to come, we will need your help to continue providing starvation relief and economic restructure, even when the pandemic is over. Please help us for what is coming next.
President of The Pucusana Project
Click on the following link to read Beasley’s complete column.