In el Salvador, a family decimated by the sars coronavirus

Au Salvador, une famille décimée par le coronavirus

“The world is infested”, says Raquel Barrera, a Salvadoran 28-year-old whose parents are both dead of the Covid-19, as three of his brothers, in less than two months.

“In my family, there have been five deaths in a short time. And it was hard to lose like that,” she said to AFP, in his village of Ojo de Agua, 45 kilometers from the capital, San Salvador.

The virus is transmitted to the 23 members of the family, including children and pregnant women, who live in three houses surrounded by fruit trees and fields of sugar cane, beans and corn.

The patriarch, Felix Barrera, aged 80, was the first to succumb, on the 28th of may. Two days later, his wife Lucia, mother of 11 children, died at the age of 69 years.

Then, it was the turn of Jesus, a nurse for 52 years, Joaquin Antonio, 42 years old, and Carlos Humberto, 40 years.

Characteristic symptoms

The parents died at their home, while the three brothers have died in the hospital where they were admitted with the symptoms characteristic of the disease.

“When I heard about this virus, I would have never thought it would happen such a thing to the family,” says Raquel, surrounded by her sister Luz and her mother-in-law Rebeca.

“God has helped us by giving us strength, because it is a big pain. Lose a person, it hurts. And now they are five… I don’t know where we have pulled so much strength,” says Rebeca, widow of Joaquin Antonio.

Rebeca is now alone with her five children, José David, 21 years old, Joel Antonio, 15 years, Rebeca Abigail, 14 years, Herson Samuel, 9 years old, and Horny Elizabeth, 4 years old.

For single inheritance, the widow retains the sheet-metal hut where his family lives, as well as a cart and two oxen.

“I don’t know how I’m going to do, I should try to continue for my children. Send them to school, it’s going to be difficult. But even if it’s by washing clothes for other people, I must continue,” she continued crying.


“We have been victims of discrimination on the part of all the world,” complains Raquel. “We didn’t even want to sell us corn cakes”, after the neighbourhood has been notified that the family was contaminated.

Raquel accuses the authorities of having ordered to stay indoors, without the help.

“They left us locked up. And it is only after the death of Jesus that the town hall helped us to make the five tests. We had to choose between us who was going to do the test, while we were all at risk,” growls Raquel.

Two of the five family members tested were detected positive.

The lack of basic medicines, the family was treated “with the tea of ginger, lemon, herbal tea, and red onion confit in honey,” says Raquel : “this will relieve our pain in the throat and in the chest”.

In el Salvador, about 6.4 million inhabitants, almost 400 people died of the Covid-19, and nearly 14,000 have been infected.

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