Half a million people, faces, families, to be added to the millions who already lived in a precarious situation. The year of the coronavirus has increased by 500,000 people the number of those who have come, for the first time, to the offices of Caritas asking for help, according to the report A year accumulating crisis, presented this Tuesday, and they join the four million who already lived in a situation of severe social exclusion, and the 8.5 million poor who, before the pandemic, suffered the consequences of an economic model that rules out the weakest.
“One in three people had never had to resort to assistance, while 26% have come to Caritas for the first time. Demands for help have increased by 57%,” said the coordinator of the COVID-19 emergency team , Raúl Flores, who stressed that, throughout this year, “we are living a situation of clear lack of protection”, which increases the inequality gap.
The Minimum Living Income does not start
The aid is not coming either. “The minimum vital income has not just started; it should be essential but it only reaches 3.6% of the people cared for by Cáritas, and 12.8% of these people have been denied,” said Flores. “Protection systems are not being either effective or complementary.”
And it is that 258,000 people accompanied by Cáritas live in homes that do not have any economic income; there are 75,000 more people than before the start of this health crisis. This means that more than 825,000 people accompanied by Caritas are in a situation of severe poverty, that is, with incomes of less than 370 euros per month for a one-person household or 776 euros for households with two adults and two children.
“We have no words to express our grief at the loss of human life. They are unbearable figures, with a tragedy, a face, behind each of the dead, each of those affected,” recalled the Secretary General of Cáritas Española , Natalia Peiro.
“The pandemic and the crisis it has generated do not affect all people equally,” with “especially serious consequences for people who were already in a vulnerable situation,” Peiro stressed. “The coronavirus has increased the inequality gap,” he stressed.
Direct aid to the sick, the homeless, the elderly …
“We had to reinvent ourselves,” Peiro admitted, recalling the limitations of confinement that still have consequences today, such as the suspension or postponement of some purely face-to-face services. Thus, Caritas launched an Accompaniment 2.0 based on the telephone and telematics.
The ‘Cáritas against Coronavirus’ campaign has been a historic milestone for the organization, which raised 65 million euros. The bulk of those 65 million euros (41.1) were allocated to direct aid, while 3.3 were to support children, and 2.4 to international cooperation. Lonely people, the sick and the elderly, immigrants, homeless men and women… To which we must add the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons and refugees around the world.
“Faced with the mirage of a recovery that has not just arrived, and that in any case would lead families to a more precarious situation than the one we have come from, we must offer imaginative solutions. We need to build a truly inclusive, and not exclusive, we to provide the same opportunities for the people who will make up the society of the future, “explained Raúl Flores.
Facing the immediate future, Caritas denounced the widening gap between rich and poor when talking about access to vaccines. “If vaccinating those who need it most in Spain and Europe is a challenge, in the international realities that Caritas accompanies, the difficulties multiply to meet this objective in the face of limitations such as availability, logistics, purchasing capacity, eventual production local and the readjustment of the messages about what the pandemic really is “.
For this reason, Caritas supports Pope Francis’ call for “vaccines for all” and asks the Church to “be jointly responsible for vaccination strategies.”
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