Coronavirus in Chile

“Food for Chile” Campaign Takes Off as Protests Continue

SANTIAGO – A week after President Sebastián Piñera announced that the most vulnerable families in the country would receive food boxes, the government has started delivering the “Food for Chile” campaign. Thousands of boxes have been delivered so far, according to authorities. In several districts, however, residents still protest the lack of support from the government.

The Chilean government has started delivering the first food boxes to families in need. Since Saturday, over 23,000 food boxes were distributed in districts in the Metropolitan region and other regions in the country. The campaign, dubbed “Food for Chile” by authorities, aims to deliver 2.5 million food boxes to families across the country.

In several districts the boxes were delivered by mayors and ministers, while at some points soldiers were accompanying the trucks to avoid disturbances. Several mayors complain that their residents still not have seen any help. Among them, the mayors of Puente Alto and La Pintana, where the quarantine measures have had a huge economic impact on the large percentage of residents who work in the informal sector.

Although the government has initiated the “Food for Chile”-campaign and started paying the financial support to vulnerable families as part of the Emergency Bill, in various districts in Greater Santiago protests were held on Monday, May 25. In Puente Alto, La Pintana, and San Bernardo, three of the heaviest populated districts in Chile, people put up burning barricades, stating that the government support has not been received to date and that families are suffering from hunger.

In La Pintana, food boxes were distributed in some neighborhoods, which caused anxiety among residents in other parts of the district who feel forgotten. In Puente Alto, at least 150 residents clashed with police forces who tried to extinguish the barricades. Protests started one week ago in El Bosque, the day after President Piñera announced the “Food for Chile”-campaign. Due to the economic impact of the coronavirus restrictions, vulnerable families largely depend on State support and community kitchens to feed their families.

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