Mafia Delivers Food To Worse Hit Areas Of Italy Amid COVID-19
In case you think you’ve seen it all during this pandemic, there is always more. Italy has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and now the mafia is stepping in. Authorities are warning residents about gangs distributing food to people in Italy’s poorest regions.
According to the Guardian, Luciana Lamorgese, Italy’s minister of the interior, said that “the mafia could take advantage of the rising poverty, swooping in to recruit people to its organisation.”
Mafia Delivering Food To Struggling Italians
The Independent reports that offering loans and food to people who are struggling is “an age-old recruitment tactic” among the mafia. Amedeo Scaramella, the head of a Naples group that fights loan sharking, says the mafia could ask people to repay by doing things like transporting drugs.
The charity L’Altra Napoli is raising money to get food to families in need before the mafia can get to them. Meanwhile, the government is reportedly distributing shopping vouchers to residents, as police try to prevent theft, and some shop owners are pressured to give food for free.
“These handouts by the mafias are not gifts,” Federico Varese, Oxford professor of criminology, told the Guardian. “The mafia does not do anything out of its kind heart. They are favors that everyone will have to pay back in some form or another, by aiding and abetting a fugitive, holding a gun, dealing drugs and the like.”
Nicola Gratteri, an antimafia investigator, emphasized that mafia bosses will exploit situations such as the current pandemic to gain favor with residents of their territory. They will later use this to their advantage in situations like elections, to push politicians who will support their interests.
How Are Things In Italy During COVID-19?
Italy has been one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. With over 25,000 deaths since the outbreak started in February, Italy has the second highest death toll in the world after the United States. It’s also third in overall cases, with over 187,000.
According to Reuters, Italy’s death toll fell on Wednesday, with deaths climbing by 437 compared to 537 the day before. However, the daily tally of new cases increased to 3,370 on Wednesday, compared to 2,729 Tuesday.
The report also states that there were fewer people in intensive care in Italy on Wednesday compared to Tuesday. The number of people registered to be carrying the disease also fell from 107,709 to 107,699 on Tuesday.