By Vatican News
Caritas Internationalis is highly concerned by the major humanitarian crisis to which the post-pandemic is heading and urges the international community to take courageous and immediate action.
In a statement, the Catholic Church’s global confederation of humanitarian agencies, notes that in the last four months, international political and media attention has rightly focused on the spread of the virus, but warns of potentially catastrophic aftermath.
“The aftershock of the pandemic is announcing to be even more complicated and more deadly than the impact of the virus itself, especially for the most vulnerable communities in the poorest countries,” it says.
The devastating effects of the lockdown on the global economy have resulted in a World Food Programme projection that shows “the number of people on the brink of starvation will double as a result of Covid-19 and could reach 230 million.”
Worst affected countries
“Africa is the worst affected continent, experiencing food shortages, due to the lockdown, as well as a diversity of disasters such as floods, drought, locust invasion, poor harvest,” the statement reads, and many countries in “the Middle East, Latin America and in Asia are already on the verge of a severe food crisis leading to child malnutrition, starvation of the adults.”
Most vulnerable communities
Amongst the most vulnerable groups singled out by the statement are migrants, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees who are also severely affected by the food crisis and lack of safe living conditions.
“Undocumented migrants are another community that will be the worst affected because they do not fall into any of the categories that can get public aid,” it says.
‘An atypical emergency’
Caritas Internationalis’ Secretary-General, Aloysius John, points out this is “an atypical emergency wherein the major donor countries are the most affected by the virus. But we need to know that the diversion of international aid to respond to national needs will not be the right solution.”
Therefore, Caritas Internationalis urges the international community to:
– Suspend economic sanctions against Libya, Iran, Venezuela, and Syria in order to enable the importation of medicines, medical equipment, and basic necessities for the population.
– Give faith-based organizations the necessary means to respond to priority needs as a result of Covid-19, which means carrying out micro development programmes that can ensure food security for the poorest communities, as well as humanitarian, health and cash assistance.
– Allocate additional funds for supporting the most vulnerable communities to survive during this period of lockdown
– Ensure access to essential and affordable services for IDPs and refugees, including access to their camps and ensure humanitarian aid.
“We can stop another major humanitarian crisis if courageous and bold actions are taken to anticipate and support the most vulnerable communities” John concludes, and underscores the fact that Caritas Internationalis joins Pope Francis’ call to promote “creative global solidarity” and look “beyond the Covid-19 response to avoid another major humanitarian tragedy.”