Brazil: Favela residents organise their own response to COVID pandemic

Residents of one of Sao Paulo's biggest favelas, Paraisopolis, took matters into their own hands in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, citing a lack of governmental support. Locals were seen on Friday preparing food baskets to be delivered for the ones in need, as well as teams of workers sewing bags and face masks to be distributed to the residents. An ambulance with equipment useful in assisting people in case of an emergency could also be spotted being shown as one of Paraisopolis neighbours latest acquisition. Gilson Rodrigues, a community leader and coordinator of the initiatives being implemented at the favela, said: «We developed 12 initiatives to fight the pandemic in the community, and it's being copied across Brazil. From hiring ambulances to organising the community through leaders, also distributing food, training people, lifeguards, some actions that are helping the community to decrease mortality.» «All those initiatives in Paraisopolis are executed by the support of civil society, no help from the government, public policy is far from here, so we had to create our own public policy,» he added. Brazil is the second worst-hit country by the coronavirus pandemic worldwide after the United States. As of Friday, Brazil has reported more than 1,539,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 61,800 related deaths, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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