Fears that the Covid-19 epidemic will overturn the economic position of Pacific communities

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A Pacific health and social service provider in Auckland fears the city’s fifth lockdown could push families back into poverty.

Traffic on the Auckland highway near the city center at 11:30 am on an unusual Thursday morning.
Photo: RNZ / Robert Smith

Fono chief executive Tevita Funaki said that before the latest Covid-19 outbreak, many whanau had recovered economically.

But the prospect of an extended period at Alert Level 4 would be a real setback for them, he said.

“We are very concerned about the level of difficulties of the families, I think the families were starting to return to normalcy.”

The lockdown would be a tipping point for many and Funaki said many people would feel stressed and anxious.

During previous closings, they had also seen an increase in domestic violence.

Fono is preparing to provide more food, financial, social and mental health support in the coming weeks.

Funaki said Pacific agencies in Auckland will work with community leaders to ensure families have access to what they need.

Families with children would come under additional pressure as schools revert to online learning.

Funaki said many households were overcrowded and still did not have access to devices or internet connections.

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Kia Kaha – Stay strong


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