Brazil’s poorest region moves to help Covid orphans

governors northeast orphans
Governors of the nine Northeastern states during a meeting to discuss pandemic-related efforts. Photo: Aluisio-Moreira/SEI

Governors from Brazil’s Northeast region launched a wealth-transfer program to pay BRL 500 (USD 96) per month to minors orphaned due to Covid-19. Recipients will receive payments until they turn 21 years old.

To become eligible for the benefit, children and teenagers must have lost their parents for at least one full year and live in households with total income no higher than three times the minimum wage (or BRL 3,300). 

The aid emulates a move enacted in Peru back in March, when officials in Lima launched an aid scheme to pay USD 55 per month to children who lost their parents to Covid-19.

A study published last month in scientific journal The Lancet shows the extent of the problem of minors left orphaned by the pandemic. The number of Brazilian minors who lost their caregivers during this period is 180 times the total Covid-19 deaths of under 19s in the country, according to the most recent Health Ministry bulletin.

The data refers to the period between March of 2020 and April of this year. According to the study, the numbers reveal a “hidden pandemic,” coming as another tragic consequence of the deadliest pandemic in recent human history.