human development, social justice and sustainable social systems
Caritas Andorra and the COVID-19 crisis
Andorra is a little country bordering Spain and France, located in the heart of the Pyrenees mountains in southwestern Europe. It has a population of 76,000 inhabitants. The economic mainstays of Andorra are mainly retail commerce and tourism, which represent nearly 60% of our economy, followed by the financial sector. Like all crises, the COVID-19 health crisis has been a sudden and unexpected situation for Andorra as it has been worldwide.
Caritas Andorra’s mission is to cover the necessities of the poorest and neediest people of our society. We strive to ensure the integral development of persons and to relieve the suﬀering caused by catastrophes, conflicts and injustice.
From the onset of the situation brought about by COVID-19, Caritas Andorra has continued to serve individuals and families in need, adapting its activity to the prevention measures and recommendations of the health authorities and of the Government of Andorra. We operate in coordination with the experts of the Ministry of Social Aﬀairs, Housing, and Youth Aﬀairs in order to optimise resources and to most effectively reach out to all the people who find themselves in a situation of need.
This health crisis has made its appearance suddenly, seriously aﬀecting the entire social and economic fabric of our country. For this reason, now more than ever, we at Caritas Andorra are keeping all our services active and continuing to attend to our regular users and to new ones who, due to the shutdown of many companies and retail establishments, have had to take recourse to us.
One significant occurrence in our country has been the sudden and unexpected closure of the ski resorts, which are one of our foremost sources of employment. This shutdown has left many seasonal workers without a job, the majority from Argentina, who come to work in Andorra each year during the winter season. The massive cancellation of flights from Europe to Argentina, however, has left these seasonal workers stranded in our country. Through the ‘Food Bank’, Caritas Andorra is giving help to all the seasonal workers in need by providing food purchase vouchers.
One of the ways in which COVID-19 reached our country was through a tourist who suﬀered an accident, this led to the infection of many healthcare workers in our hospital. As a result, the Andorran authorities urgently sought and obtained the help of a group of about forty Cuban health workers, who travelled to our country. Caritas Andorra provided suitable clothing for cold weather to these healthcare workers from Cuba, a tropical country that diﬀers greatly from our own.
Caritas Andorra also wishes to highlight the cooperation that is taking place between the various organisations and NGOs of our country to supplement the available services and to join eﬀorts, channelling the solidarity of Andorran society.