There is one group of refugees that we have repeatedly reported on in the past: they work in Italian fields to pick tomatoes or harvest potatoes. They are particularly affected by the current crisis.
In the camp in Cassibile, which we have repeatedly supplied with food and other necessities through Padre Carlo, there has not been any coronavirus outbreaks yet, to our knowledge. The district administration has provided a well with clean water and has installed ten chemical toilets for the workers in the camp, so that they can access sanitation and comply with the requirements to contain the pandemic.
If the disease were to spread among the field workers despite these precautions, the consequences would be devastating: because of poor hygienic conditions and workers living closely together in tents and makeshift shelters, the virus could be expected to spread across the camp very quickly. Many inhabitants have weakened immune systems due to the overall difficult living situation with hard physical work and poor nutrition. How strongly they would be affected by an infection is hard to predict. In addition, access to the medical system is difficult for most.
But even without being infected, people face the problem that they cannot work or do not dare to take on assignments. They therefore have no income and since they have no official employment contracts, they are not entitled to official aid. Until May 4, when public life in Italy will slowly start getting back on track, many field workers are therefore facing an emergency.
We are in close contact with our local partners to help prepare in any way we can: organice face covers, equipment to make masks, face shields and much more. Details will follow shortly!
Please don’t forget to continue supporting us! And a huge thank you to all those who regularly donate and thus enable us to help on site at any time and in any emergency!