Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - "We are aware that we are facing an atypical emergency in which the countries that are normally among the largest donors are the most affected by the virus", said Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, Aloysius John, regarding the emergence of increasingly dramatic contexts related to the economic crisis caused by Covid, which require immediate responses. In the note sent to Agenzia Fides, Aloysius stresses that "we must be aware that the use of international aid to respond to national needs is not the right solution. If we do not act immediately, the consequences of the coronavirus will kill more people than the pandemic itself".
Caritas Internationalis says it is deeply concerned about the serious humanitarian crisis that is following the spread of the pandemic and urges the international community to take courageous and immediate actions. The lockdown decided in Europe, the United States, China and Japan has paralyzed the global economy which is now heavily compromised. According to the projections of World Food Program, the number of people on the verge of starvation is expected to double due to the economic consequences of the pandemic worldwide and could reach 230 million people. Africa is the continent most affected, due to the lack of food, as a direct consequence of the lockdown in various countries, as well as a variety of natural disasters such as floods, droughts, invasion of locusts, scarce harvests. Many countries in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia are already on the verge of a serious food crisis which is leading to a major increase in child malnutrition and the number of adults who suffer from hunger.
Migrants, internally displaced persons, refugees and returnees are among the groups most at risk, being seriously affected by the food crisis and the lack of safe living conditions. Many returnees to Venezuela suffer hunger. Irregular migrants are another particularly exposed community because it does not fall into any of the categories that can get help. Local authorities should guarantee them access to essential services and in particular to healthcare.
In this context of total precariousness, Caritas Internationalis joins Pope Francis' request to promote a 'global creative solidarity' and go beyond the simple response to the spread of the coronavirus in order to avoid another serious humanitarian tragedy".
The organization urges the international community to stop economic sanctions against Libya, Iran, Venezuela and Syria in order to allow the importation of medicines, medical equipment and basic necessities for the population. Provide religiously inspired organizations with the necessary means to respond to the urgent needs caused by the pandemic, by implementing micro-development programs capable of guaranteeing food security for the poorest communities, as well as humanitarian, and health assistance. Allocate additional funds to support the most vulnerable communities to survive during this lockdown period. Ensure access to essential services for internally displaced persons and refugees, including access to refugee camps and internally displaced persons.
The Secretary General concludes his appeal by stressing that "this new serious humanitarian crisis cannot be stopped unless courageous actions are taken to support the most vulnerable communities". (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 6/5/2020)