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Are Expats Running Out of Supplies?

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Summary: We surveyed expats and asked if they are running low on supplies abroad. The responses are varied and seem closely tied to the progression of the pandemic in each country.

Coronavirus Pandemic - Are Expats Running Out of Supplies?

Expat Exchange has asked expats to submit Coronavirus Reports so others can understand what is happening in their location, on the ground, now. Additionally, these reports will be useful for others in the future as they evaluate their relocation options in the future.

We've been examining how specific questions have been answered by expats from all over the globe. One of the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it's been spreading in waves around the world, and you can see that in the timeline of the reports as they are submitted.

With that in mind, here are responses to our question "Is there a shortage of supplies in your location?" (The responses are ordered by date with the most recent at the top.)

"There are shortages, hand sanitizer, masks, food seems to be normal. In fact there is a slight abundance. Probably due to a lower rate of U.S. exportation," wrote an American expat living in Guadalajara, Mexico (Apr 14, 2020)

"Toilet paper, yep TP is hard [and] Hand Sanitizer and Face Masks are non-existent. Hoarders, go figure," wrote an American expat living in Tampa, Florida, US. (Apr 12, 2020)

"Yes. Everything for protection," wrote a Canadian expat living in Toril, Philippines. (Apr 09, 2020)

"There was on flour and hand sanitizer," wrote an American expat living in Medellin, Colombia. (Apr 06, 2020)

"None that I know of but I'm shut in most of the time and don't get out much," wrote an expat from Panama living in Boquete, Panama. (Apr 06, 2020)

"Impossible to get protective gear or disinfectant of any kind unless you want to pay for the scalpers," wrote an American expat living in Montgomery, Alabama, US. (Apr 04, 2020)

"No, there are no shortages right now," wrote an expat from Brazil living in Barcelona, Spain. (Apr 01, 2020)

"No for citizens, I don't know about medical. They have prepared extra hospital areas last week if needed in order to not overwhelm medical system... lots of pre-planning and prep. They are doing everything they can to be prepared," wrote an American expat living in Medellin, Colombia. (Apr 01, 2020)

"Shortage of about 2 weeks supplies of masks and gloves to businesses. Suggest if you can't get the thin gloves, use dish washing gloves with very hot water for 20 seconds. Those gloves are meant to handle very hot water and can be reused then. Corona virus doesn't like heat," wrote an American expat living in Oregon, USA. (Mar 31, 2020)

"Not yet. Essentials are still available. But that may change if the local populace becomes violent because they cannot buy food. No money if you're not working," wrote an American expat living in Chapala, Mexico (Mar 30, 2020)

"A shortage of protective personal equipment is being met with reconfiguring fabric manufacturers to produce masks, with people across the country producing face masks for the cost of material only, such as about 5 euros. There are no food or 'toilet paper shortages,'" wrote an American expat living in Lisbon Area, Portugal (Mar 30, 2020)

"Fortunately there is no food supplies shortage, some trouble concerning medical devices instead," wrote an expat from Italy living in Venice, Italy (Mar 27, 2020)

"I have not witnessed panic buying, although supplies of loo roll seem to be low. That is all in Innsbruck," wrote a British expat living in Innsbruck, Austria (Mar 23, 2020)

"There was a shortage of fresh veggies in my market one day, but the next day all those empty spaces were refilled," wrote an American expat living in Montevideo, Uruguay (Mar 23, 2020)

"Yes, there's a major shortage of N-95 masks, protective gowns and other gear for medical workers. Toilet paper, Tylenol, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies and other things like that are also scarce. ," wrote an expat from living in Bernardsville, New Jersey, US (Mar 22, 2020)

"No shortage if you have money," wrote an expat from Australia living in Porlamar, Venezuela (Mar 21, 2020)

"I'm having a hard time finding a mask, since I'm allergic to dust. I don't fear contracting the virus at all because I don't go to crowded places and stay home most of the time," wrote an expat from living in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (Mar 21, 2020)

"No - stores still have food. The alcohol, gel and disinfectant wipes sold quickly but the start of school also exacerbated this. I can still buy Lysol, cleaners, soaps etc. Paper products are plentiful and food - especially fresh produce is plentiful," wrote an American expat living in Valdivia, Chile (Mar 20, 2020)

"I think there is a problem with gas deliveries for heating, cooking and hot water," wrote an American expat living in Cuenca, Ecuador. (Mar 19, 2020)

"YES! shortage of water and other essentials. People are hoarding. We have six children between us. People with one child are taking supplies for two months at a time," wrote an American expat living in Martinique. (Mar 19, 2020)

"Supplies of hand sanitizer are going down. There's plenty of produce, and most everything," wrote an American expat living in Bali, Indonesia. (Mar 19, 2020)

"Just masks and hand sanitizer. These masks: https://www.bkreader.com/2020/03/07/heres-a-diy-way-to-make-your-own-protective-face-mask/ can be readily made from available supplies. There is a link to making hand sanitize also. Remember soap works also," reported an American expat living in Pasay, Vilamor, Philippines. (Mar 18, 2020)

"No, there is no shortage of supplies or food as of March 18th," according to an American expat living in Boquete, Panama. (Mar 18, 2020)

"Here only shortage appears to be alcohol, gel and wipes. I purchased antibiotics two days ago," wrote an American expat living in Valdivia, Chile. (Mar 18, 2020)

"Alcohol and hand sanitizer," wrote an American expat living in Pencahue, Chile. (Mar 18, 2020)

"Not at all. Shops are well stocked," reported an American expat living in Punta del Este, Uruguay. (Mar 17, 2020)

"Yes, at times. Certainly hand sanitizer is out of stock sporadically, as is toilet paper. Grocery shelves are wiped clean as people hoard but replenished every day," wrote an American expat living in Lisbon Area, Portugal. (Mar 17, 2020)

"Only mask n95 and alcohol [are] in short supply so far," according to an expat from Uruguay living in Atlantida, Uruguay. (Mar 16, 2020)

"There is still a shortage of testing kits and labs certified to do the tests. This is slowly improving but even if you believe you've been exposed or have symptoms it's not easy to get tested. In Memphis, there was a run on the grocery stores which wiped out all supplies and food. Today I was at grocery store and lots of stockers were putting out as much as possible," reported an American expat living in Memphis, Tennessee, US. (Mar 16, 2020)

"Yes... But probably short-term because grocery stores and warehouses were caught off guard in their normal supply routes. Things like mask and hand sanitizer may be in short supply for a long time they literally fly off the shelves. As an example Walmart I'm on their alert email for hand sanitizer. Every time I see it and click it it's already gone. The shortages may be short-term as people are hoarding. Not sure yet," wrote an American expat living in Washington DC Area, Md and Virginia , US (Mar 16, 2020)

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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Comments about this Article

PEBBS
Apr 15, 2020 15:48

no shortages whatever inHeredia,Costa Rica..does not seem to be hoarding thank God. Although Alcohol in 1 store (with &)% written in bold 9on lable we were allowed only to but 2 bottles eah About 8oz..seems fair...INEXPENSIVE also...No N95 masks left but but google make your own.m.asks Godbless and stay well ..we are quaranteened on a lovely 3 acre farm just poutside of Herediaso food delivery cheap.Good and easy....Godbless and stay well Pebbs

First Published: Apr 13, 2020

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