In one of the poorest regions of Argentina, the pandemic created a dire but often overlooked situation.
“They don’t have anything. Neither television nor toys. I don’t think any of them had ever seen a cartoon,” Margarita said as she looked at the 11 children around her who barely seemed able to get warm from a fire. She and her sister live in the Paraná Delta, a group of islands with an extremely poor population, two hours from the city of Buenos Aires.
It was a frosty morning in August 2020. In Argentina, a long quarantine was still in place and almost all informal employment was lost. The Infobae documentary team traveled one hour from Puerto de Frutos, Tigre, and sailed along the Luján, Sarmiento, and Capitán rivers, until they crossed the Paraná and reached the Pay Carabi stream, in the second section of the Delta islands.
“It is an area of fruits and wicker that was originally inhabited by Italian, Russian, and Spanish immigrants,” said Pastor José Murguia, whose church had been closed for months and became the guide of the production team. “Today the situation has changed, and many families became stranded and isolated amid the pandemic. Without work, without food, without the basic things to live.”
More than five months had passed since Argentina closed internal traffic and only one since the market boats that supply the Delta were back in operation. Infobae’s audiovisual team wanted to show the reality of the most vulnerable and decided to go to the homes of these families who were not only punished by the pandemic but stranded in a place where supplies did not arrive.
That led to the documentary, Stories from the Delta: The drama of families that were isolated by the pandemic and are in need of clothing and food.
The idea behind this project was to show the reality they were living in so others would want to help them.
The documentary was made in a very short time, less than a week, because we wanted to take advantage of the time when the supply boats were sailing so both the families featured in our documentary and their neighbours could get the necessary help from the mainland. In the end, the community of San Fernando organised a collection of food and clothes that were sent to them a few weeks after the article was published.
During the first wave of COVID-19, we made several mini-documentaries that portrayed the different circumstances citizens were going through in Argentina. In most cases, after these articles were published, the people we had portrayed received some kind of financial help from the state or from other individuals who showed solidarity and were able to totally or partially solve these problems.
In those cases, our joy was twofold, not only because of the audiovisual and written content in the article but also because of the repercussions it caused in our society and because of the joy in having been able to contribute to improving the quality of life of those affected.