Bogota (Agenzia Fides) - Latin America and the Caribbean is the region most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, with 28% of deaths, despite the fact that its population represents 8.4% of the world population. This dramatic statement opens the latest regional report of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The countries of the continent "face challenges in various aspects to control the pandemic" continues the note sent to Fides, which underlines how the spread of Covid and its economic and social effects have worsened due to the structural problems in the region, such as the high levels of inequality, informal work, lack of social protection, poverty and vulnerability.
Furthermore, health and social protection systems are weak and fragmented, and sprawling marginal urban settlements lack access to basic services. Added to this are "massive migratory flows and population displacements, as well as conflicts of various kinds and the consequences of the climate crisis".
The report specifically cites the Venezuelan exodus, which "is the largest in recent history and one of the largest global crises of forced displacement in the world, after Syria. Added to this are the hundreds of thousands of Central Americans who continue to flee their countries because of violence, human rights violations and the deterioration of security conditions". The number of forced displacements "has quadrupled in the last decade" and due to the humanitarian crisis generated by the pandemic, Venezuelan and Central American forced migrants and refugees have been doubly affected.
As for the vaccination plans implemented in various countries of the region, "the difference in the demand and availability of vaccines is evident according to the income levels of the countries, as well as in the planning and good use of resources". In general, the Covid-19 vaccination plans in the region exclude immigrants who are in an irregular situation, which should be reconsidered by including them on equal terms and without discrimination. "The first countries to implement vaccination plans have been, in order, Chile, Mexico and Argentina (at the end of December 2020), followed by Ecuador (January 21), Venezuela (February 18) and Colombia (20 February). The report below presents a summary of the vaccination situation in the countries where JRS offices are present: Ecuador, Colombia and Mexico. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 8/4/2021)