BY CARMEN ALVAREZ
Central America faces two pandemics: COVID-19 and hunger. We cannot speak about the impact of the pandemic on the economy without mentioning the structural problems that people face.
Several issues include high levels of unemployment, increased violence towards children and women, and limited access to health, education and protection services due to high levels of corruption.
These factors have made the impact of the pandemic on the economy an unmanageable crisis causing social destabilisation at all levels.
The coronavirus has exposed inequalities and inequity in Central America. Millions of people are confined to their homes in lockdown. For many, this is a death sentence, because they are unable to go out every day to look for food or work in informal trade activities.
COVID-19 has made us redefine our priorities both personally and societally. We have challenges ahead that we must face together.
In Guatemala, a country where Viva has a partner network, we see heartbreaking situations for children each day. These include:
- More than 20 boys and girls sleeping in cemetery graves as they have nowhere to live.
- A nine-year-old boy taking care of his three little brothers working on the street because his parents left him in charge as they look for a better future.
Families in Latin America and worldwide are waiting for a helping hand; could you be that answer? Please give at give.viva.org
By Carmen Alvarez, Viva’s Latin America Director
Experts say the pandemic in Latin America will leave 37.7 million people unemployed and 16 million people in extreme poverty.
Population below the poverty line:
– El Salvador 32.4%
– Guatemala 59.3%
– Honduras 68.9%
In these same three countries, 35% of households live in overcrowded houses. In Nicaragua that figure reaches 60%.