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Richel Mohammed-Boodoo, her husband Andy Boodoo, daughter Reihel and son Ryel light candles outside their home at Wellington Gardens, Debe, as they pay respect to those who died from the COVID-19 on Thursday.

With hundreds of people dying and thousands more infected with COVID-19, along with unemployment and citizens facing hardships due to the pandemic, a community in Debe has sent a message of hope and support through a candlelight vigil.

On Thursday evening at Wellington Gardens, Debe, several families lit candles in front of their homes but remained socially distanced.

Resident Zaheer Ali said several families are struggling and they felt they had to do the activity.

“We are having a home candlelight vigil basically for all the persons we have lost and also for people who are ailing and there also are a lot of problems we are also facing in the country, whereby people in the community here are lacking food, jobs and we say we will come out tonight (Thursday) and light a candle in front of our homes.”

Residents, Ali said, formed a group recently to help each other and the less fortunate in the community.

Lamenting that many people live from pay cheque to pay cheque and without any savings, he said there is a feeling of hopelessness.

“A lot of members inside here who are asking for help and who are crying out, because of the loss of jobs. Some people on the verge of losing their homes and people inside here are hoping that they get back to some form of normality in the country.”

While the Government has put things in place to deal with this pandemic, Ali suggested that the Government, Opposition and the entire nation all work together to get the country up and running again.

Another resident, Richel Mohammed-Boodoo, lost family members abroad and locally to COVID-19. She said on Wednesday night her cousin, who was in-home quarantine, died after developing breathing problems.

She claimed he was taken to the Couva Hospital but was turned away by the security and passed away shortly after he arrived at the San Fernando General Hospital.

Mohammed-Boodoo believes home quarantine is contributing to the rise in infections.

“My opinion is where we have people in quarantine at home that have tested positive, I think they should use some of the schools that are vacant, those facilities and community centres. Because you test positive and you go home to your family who is negative and then everyone becomes positive at the home. It will eventually have more spread, probably that is the reason why we have so much spread right now.”

Resident Tally Mohammed said it was important that citizens come together in hope of better days.

“This is light to fight against darkness, to fight against negativity, to fight against the ills of the world. We hoping that by lighting these candles and the community coming together we would strengthen that fight against all the negativities in life,” Mohammed said.