22 Aug 2021

Fears Covid-19 outbreak to reverse economic position of Pacific communities

8:33 pm on 22 August 2021

A Pacific health and social service provider in Auckland fears the city's fifth lockdown will push families back into hardship.

Traffic on the Auckland motorway near the central city at 11.30am on an atypical Thursday morning.

Traffic on the Auckland motorway near the central city at 11.30am on an atypical Thursday morning. Photo: RNZ / Robert Smith

Fono chief executive Tevita Funaki said before the latest Covid-19 outbreak, many whanau had been getting back on their feet economically.

But the prospect of a prolonged period at alert level 4 would be a real setback for them, he said.

"We are very concerned around the level of hardship of families, I think families were starting to get back into normality."

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

In previous lockdowns, they had also seen an increase in family violence.

The Fono is gearing up to provide more food, financial, welfare and mental health support in the coming weeks.

Funaki said Pacific agencies across Auckland would be working with community leaders to ensure families have access to what they need.

Families with children would be experiencing added pressure, with schools reverting to online learning.

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


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