IOM Provides Relief to Vulnerable Migrants in Response to COVID-19 in Argentina
Buenos Aires – Through Sunday, 10 May, Argentina has reported 6,034 COVID-19 cases and just over 300 deaths. A social, preventative and mandatory lockdown was decreed by the national Government on 20 March and most commercial and industrial activities are suspended, as are in-person classes at all education levels. Migrants here face special obstacles.
Argentina is the main reception country of migrants in South America. According to the United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs (UNDESA), in 2019 migrants represented a 5.1 per cent of the total population, a presence that, as a proportion of all residents, is among the highest in Latin America. It’s even higher in Buenos Aires, the country’s capital and largest city, where over 13 per cent are migrants born outside Argentina.
Among these migrants, the rates of informal work and self-employment are high. Furthermore, those who do not have two years of legal residence cannot access Argentina’s Emergency Family Income, a measure adopted by the Government for informal workers and single taxpayers at the lowest income levels.
It is against this backdrop that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is working closely with the national Government and civil society organizations to provide sanitary and food support to extremely vulnerable migrants.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that solidarity, dialogue, coordination and complementarity among government agencies, humanitarian partners and the private sector are the best strategies to leave no one behind,” said Gabriela Fernández, IOM Argentina’s Head of Office. “This is the spirit we have to keep up in our work.”
In metro Buenos Aires, IOM’s Country Office in Argentina has delivered 1,500 food, hygiene and cleaning kits prepared jointly with the Argentine Red Cross, with a second round of delivery under preparation for 1,500 more. Most of beneficiaries of this support are Venezuelans.
IOM also has prepared information on COVID-19 in several languages, including English for the many migrants here from Jamaica, and French for migrants from Senegal and Haiti. “Those are the migrants who are among the most vulnerable,” said Juliana Quintero, an IOM regional spokesperson. Languages, she added “is one of the main boundaries to access to information on the pandemic.”
Moreover, IOM is strengthening the response capacities of the Argentine state. Infrared thermometers and face masks were provided to the National Directorate of Migration (DNM, by its Spanish acronym). These supplies allow health checks to be carried out at the authorized border crossings and to safeguard migration agents while performing their duties.
“IOM, with which we share a wide agenda of activities, has been a key partner at this particular time, contributing material and human resources to take care of every Argentine national,” said Florencia Carignano, DNM Director.
These activities were implemented thanks to funding by the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) from the United States Department of State.
For more information please contact Juan Pablo Schneider at IOM Argentina, Tel: +54 11 22842210, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org