Supply shortages, fear of COVID-19 reported in Brazilian favelas

Most parents are afraid to transmit the coronavirus to their children

Published in 08/04/2020 - 16:06 By Letycia Bond - São Paulo

Approximately 60 percent of favela residents lack the financial resources necessary to maintain a livelihood for over a week without assistance or without returning to work, according to a study released today by Instituto Locomotiva in collaboration with Data Favela.

The survey warns that virtually no one will have enough food for a month. In half of the households, supplies are likely to run out in the next seven days. The institute heard 1,808 people across 269 favelas last weekend.

The study also found that eight of every ten favela residents need to leave their neighborhoods to get food and hygiene articles. The need to move around the city to buy basic products is said to come as a result of the clear shortages in supplies assailing these communities. By being forced to leave their homes, this population is exposed to contamination with the new coronavirus, as they cannot help breaking social distancing rules, which prevent its dissemination.

Some 15 percent of families are reported to have no soap. Drinking water is lacking in nearly half (47%) of the homes in the slums. Another sign of the dire conditions under which they are living is the logistics of donations—which has become part of their everyday lives during the pandemic.

According to the survey, 82 percent of the parents interviewed say they are afraid of transmitting the virus to their children. Nearly all residents of these communities (90%) also showed concern over the health of elderly family members.

Instituto Locomotiva highlights that concerns over health, employment, and income increased over the last two weeks. Altogether, 65 percent of the respondents stated they fear losing their jobs.

In the opinion of institute President Renato Meirelles, the research makes clear that those living shantytowns make up the group most severely affected by the economic effects of the pandemic. He argues that neither the government nor society should pressure this portion of the population to chose between the health of their families and bringing bread to the table. “This doesn’t seem fair—or morally ethical,” he declared.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Lílian Beraldo / Nira Foster

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