by Susan Bramhall, New Haven/ León Sister City Project
In March and April, as the world began to face the historic public health crisis caused by COVID-19, the Nicaraguan government flagrantly ignored recommendations of health and human rights organizations by encouraging mass gatherings and requiring school attendance. During the April holidays, people were encouraged to celebrate semana santa as usual with trips to the beach and large gatherings. As of this writing, there are still no recommended social distancing measures and professional sports events continue to draw fans.
In the last few weeks, reports of the coronavirus illness have begun to emerge in the larger cities and there is now an outbreak in Chinandega – not far from our Sister City, León. There is still no acknowledgment that the pandemic is the cause but hospitals are reporting many cases of atypical pneumonia and a rise in sudden deaths from heart attack and stroke. Nicaraguans are reporting that when patients die, the bodies are buried immediately, often before families are notified. Testing, treatment and results are kept secret leading to more fear and suspicion.
The staff of the New Haven/León Sister City Project are currently healthy and trying to work from home but it is difficult to do social distancing or self-isolation. It is common for homes to contain large extended families and multiple generations and often a small store open to the public. During March and April, our staff was able to continue visiting the rural communities bringing some protective gear (masks) and, most important, information about the facts of the situation. As the community has begun to hear of the cases in nearby areas they are becoming more fearful of people from the city and our staff are now doing as much as they can from their homes.
Our León Director, Erendira Vanegas, reminds us that this is a new crisis within the existing crisis created by the 2018 crackdown against protest and the devastating effect that was already having on the Nicaraguan economy. The crisis created by the pandemic on top of the economic challenges already in play have been overwhelming and has created increased food insecurity. Our Nicaraguan team advises that an urgent need is enhanced access to food for the rural population. The Sister City Project has long been supplementing the meal that children get at school – a meal they may miss if they are not in school. We are currently researching organizations we can partner with to ensure food security for Goyena and Troilo.
If you would like to make a special donation to bolster our programs please visit our website at newhavenleon.org/get-involved/give.
As always, muchisimas gracias to all our supporters in the area.
In these anxious, isolating and uncertain times, many people don’t know where to turn for resources and someone to talk with. The Clifford Beers Center has launched a warmline to help connect you with various programs for your needs. Also, if you want someone to talk with, have questions on how to get information about COVID-19, or need help, we are here with compassionate listeners who are trained in providing mental health guidance. Please call us for help! The number is (203) 287-2460.
Visit our website for more information and a listing of links for useful information at www.cliffordbeers.org/covid-19-resources.
Coordinated Food Assistance Network has put together this online guide (English and Spanish). It is updated very frequently: https://bit.ly/nhvfoodcovid.
CFAN has also developed a pantry delivery system for low-income folks who can’t get out during this crisis. It’s called Pantry to Pantry. If you know anyone in need, they can call the hotline: 888-910-2960.
The Dwight substation food pantry (142-158 Edgewood Avenue) will be open on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays 9-11 a.m. Other New Haven food resources can be found here: https://covid-19-1-newhavenct.hub.arcgis.com/pages/food.
This year May Day, International Workers Day, comes in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Come together in solidarity and unity for a special one-hour May Day 2020 Rally hosted by CT People’s World:
INTERNATIONAL WORKER SOLIDARITY: COVID-19 AND BEYOND
Sunday, May 3 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. via Zoom and phone.
Register here: us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_uEEDPXkeS4ybRusFhWFR9g
See on Facebook at May Day 2020: International Worker Solidarity: COVID and Beyond
* Special Guest: Steve Noffke, UAW Local 600, Dearborn, Michigan
* Panel of Connecticut workers on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 and for workers rights
* Special slide show presentation of working-class struggles around the world
* Solidarity actions and demands
* Staying physically distant, but socially organized to put
People and Planet before Profits!
Register in advance:
After registering, you will get a confirmation email with information about joining the rally.
Emily Hays, New Haven Independent, Apr 23, 2020
Pollution can lead to respiratory illness, which leads to a higher chance of dying from COVID-19. Earth Day turned 50 in New Haven on Wednesday with that connection in mind.
Sunrise New Haven held an Earth Day rally as a livestream to comply with local and state orders to avoid spreading COVID-19. The crisis was on the organizers’ minds; each of the dozen speakers described the parallels between the virus shutting down workplaces throughout the region and the discriminatory effects of climate change.
“I would like to recognize that we are currently living through two crises,” said emcee Adrian Huq.
Huq is a senior at Metropolitan Business Academy and a leader in youth-led New Haven Climate Movement.
Yale graduate union member and East Rock Alder Charles Decker walked the roughly 150 attendees through a series of similar maps of New Haven. The first was a redlining map of neighborhoods where banks restricted homeownership opportunities. He then cycled through neighborhood rates of unemployment and asthma. The last image was of the neighborhoods COVID-19 has hit hardest.
“What you’re seeing is that these maps time and time again look the same,” Decker said.
“The map of areas devastated by climate change is going to look exactly the same unless we act now,” said Hill Alder and New Haven Rising organizer Ron Hurt.
For more on this story visit: https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/COVID_earth_day_rally
Contact Sunrise New Haven, firstname.lastname@example.org