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Buenos Aires Airport, February 2020

The whole COVID-19 pandemic is translating into situations that none of us could have imagined, just a few weeks ago: both when considering your personal life, but also work challenges.

In recent days, I have been helping in arranging repatriations of the EU citizens stranded in various countries across South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean region. It is daunting… within last week or so, we have managed to arrange the repatriation flights for around 30,000 people, and there are many more to come. The flights are being organised anywhere between Dominican Republic, Cuba, Honduras, Peru, Brazil or Argentina. Also, we are arranging for the flights from Panama too. Within next week, we are expecting 8 flights to depart to Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Prague and Madrid. You can just imagine all the mess and stress that organising of these flights involve…

But then, there is our usual work as well… I mean work that we are meant to carry out, as our mandate: assisting vulnerable communities to withstand humanitarian crises. Even without COVID 19, we have been struggling with supporting our partners in delivering basic humanitarian services to the vulnerable in the continent. Indigenous communities, refugees, victims of violence, natural disasters… you name it! COVID 19 makes everything so much more complicated, in every possible sense. The pandemic has a tremendous sanitary, social and economic impact on individuals and communities, which already have been extremely vulnerable, and now on top of that, the situation is creating millions of new people, who are slipping into extreme poverty and will eventually depend on humanitarian support to withstand various crises that the pandemic (and other causes) will inflict on them. I think that none of us has yet managed to comprehend the consequences that we will need to be dealing with. All what I know is that we need to be prepared for the major challenge for all of us, the challenge that will either bring us to the world conflict, or that will teach us the essence of human solidarity. I trust that the latter will materialise rather than the global upheaval, but I also know that we will all be tested to our limits! Let's all of us get ready. We will need each other more than ever!