17/07/2020 The New Humanitarian | COVID-19 shifts Peru’s internal migration into reverse “The pandemic has exacerbated some of the problems that emerged in the past,” Manuela Tomei, 25International years of journalism the hearttold of crises Free Newsletter director of work conditions and equality at the Labour from Organisation, TNH during a virtual press brie ng from Geneva, noting past mass migrations in Peru that took place in response to internal con ict, development issues, and disasters. How the government will assist the country’s new poor as lockdown measures continue is unclear. Peru has the second-highest rate of death from COVID-19 in Latin America, after Chile, and has the second-most cases, after Brazil.  As in other Latin American countries, growing poverty and food insecurity are expected to increase. The World Food Programme projected that the socio-economic impact of the pandemic could leave around 14 million people food insecure in the region this year. So far, Peru has decided to go big on spending, rolling out the region’s biggest stimulus package, which included funds for healthcare, cash transfers, and infrastructure development, worth $26 billion or 12 percent of GDP. The government introduced a series of disbursements to help those who suddenly found themselves without work, but Prime Minister Vicente Zeballos said it had been di cult to identify and contact potential recipients. Incorrect addresses, no access to bank accounts, and online glitches all made communication di cult. Miguel Barreto, Latin America regional director at the World Food Programme, told TNH that while he recognised that lockdowns may be an essential tool for saving lives, what COVID-19 has shown is “the need to invest more in reaching vulnerable people at home through social protection mechanisms”, such as food rations, vouchers, or cash transfers to help people hit worst by the measures. What COVID-19 has shown is “the need to invest more in reaching vulnerable people at home.” Violence, and now hunger  Roger Caillahua is one of the millions of informal workers hard hit by the lockdown. In April, the economy contracted by 40 percent. Unable to work at his small sewing stand in Gamarra, Lima’s normally bustling garment district – or even to recover his equipment – he is now stuck at home without income or savings. Subscribe https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news/2020/07/08/Peru-internal-migration-coronavirus 3/10

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