Sumary of ‘Hunger has returned’: Covid piles further misery on Brazil’s vulnerable:
- Cadaverous crack addicts probe dumpsters for scraps of food;
- “I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” said Marcus Vinícius de Mello, a jobless 49-year-old waiter who is one of the street’s roofless dwellers and, like many here, struggling with drugs.
- Sarah Taylor, a transgender sex worker, sits outside the plastic hovel she inhabits in the shade of a tropical almond tree on Regeneration Street.
- “Today it’s as if the pandemic’s over … they don’t come any more,” lamented the 53-year-old former metalworker, who was recently evicted from a government shelter and scrapes by “mining” the streets for rubbish that can be resold for tiny sums of cash.
- The economist Monica de Bolle said the government’s distribution of emergency payments last year had been wise and partly effective, keeping millions of families and many businesses afloat.
- Lopes said soaring unemployment – nearly 8m jobs have been lost during the pandemic – meant he faced increasing competition from laid-off workers who had joined him combing the streets for rubbish.
- Famished scavengers called such discoveries the “McLixo Feliz”, the McDonald’s Trashy Meal, Lopes joked grimly before breaking down in tears.
- Nearby, a transgender sex worker called Sarah Taylor was also feeling the pinch, as clients evaporated, and with them, her income.