IN INDIA STARVATION MAY OVERTAKE CORONAVIRUS: OUR RESPONSE TO LOCK-DOWN CONSEQUENCES

IN INDIA STARVATION MAY OVERTAKE CORONAVIRUS: OUR RESPONSE TO LOCK-DOWN CONSEQUENCES

In India the lock-down started at March, the 25th with 519 confirmed cases. This lock-down started suddenly, with only 4 hours left to people to organize themselves.  

Many people in India, especially in big cities, work on daily labor and in few days they really run out their savings and had nothing to eat. Images and video crossed the world showing the tragic consequences of this lock-down, thousands of people left without anything in big cities decided to come back to their villages, by foot, for hundreds and hundreds kilometers: pregnant women, elder, little children…and some of them already didn’t survive to this journey.

JaIpur, where our project Navchetan is set, is declared red zone. In our slum, Jawahar Nagar, a family was found infected and the access to the slum is very restricted now.

After 2 months of lock-down there are 101.261 cases and 3.164 deaths, and numbers are keeping on increasing, no showing any slowing down. “Will there be an end?  There will certainly be an answer for Corona but STARVATION MAY OVERTAKE THE CORONAVIRUS in number of victims” said our local program manager.

Thanks to our local staff’s commitment and to our donors’ support we’re keeping on supporting our beneficiaries in Jawahar Nagar slum, in different ways. As our beneficiaries are children with disabilities, their families are not even able to try to go back to their villages.

Here the words of our program manager, Bridget Kalarickal,

“It is becoming bad to worse.  In spite of the long days of lock down the cases and deaths are on increase.  Now there is some relaxations on lock down.  We fear it may worsen the situation.  The lock down may continue until May 31st.  Then what? We do not know. 

Thousands of  Non Residents Indians are returning to India.  This also leads to major problems.  The states like Kerala which was  at stable in preventing infection, in treating  and limiting the spread of Corona virus is at reversal of come back because of the entry of  Indians from other countries who were exposed to the virus.

In general  the poor are becoming more frustrated.  During the past lock downs days they had a hope of  ending the misery.   

Many of the migrant workers are making effort to go back to their places even by foot.  Imagine hundreds of kilometers  walking day and night with little provisions for their journey including sick, pregnant women and children.  Some had their fate  ending the journey by overrunning trains (they choose railway track in order to escape the police ) and other vehicles or fatigue, sunstroke etc.  the government has arranged few trains  and other transport but can be  benefited limited numbers.  The flight of these unfortunate poor are very pathetic and heartbreaking.  Will there be an end?  There will certainly be an answer for Corona but the Starvation may overtake the Corona. We are also at the risk of facing another tragedy with the Umban cyclonic storm which could cross the land in next  few hours.  The southern and East southern state is under threat under this severe cyclonic storm.

We are keeping contact with our children.  We distributed food items to them.  It is great relief to them at least for survival. The days for normal functioning and restart of  children’s service are distant days.”

Immediately after the lock-down our staff started to move and organized food distribution, some local donors contacted them in order to donate for our children. Bridget and her co-workers managed to organize several distribution:

–         On 6-4-2020: long-term food items were distributed to families of children using the local funds .

–        On 20-04-2020:  distribution of cash to families of the children in order to make them able to buy essential items: cooking gas, milk, vegetables… as food items distribution includes only rice/wheat, dhals, oil etc which could be stored for few days.

–         On 16 -05 2020: distribution of long-term food items, by request of mothers. 

We managed to do it thanks to the permission from the police department and the collaboration of  Fr. Sibi, the parish priest  who provided the vehicle.

As the lock down is prolonged the poor find it more and more difficult to earn the livelihood. No work means no food situation prevails and they survive on the goodness and generosity of others. 

In this tragic situation EVEN A LITTLE HELP COULD SAVE A FAMILY, every person can make a difference, and our supporters already showed their generosity. If you want to help you can donate here 

 

Thanks to our supporters, friends and local staff we were able to give relief to our beneficiaries’ families, THANK YOU ALL!

COVID-19: EMERGENCY RESPONSE IN INDIA

COVID-19: EMERGENCY RESPONSE IN INDIA

Here few words from our local program manager: “At present lock down is until 14th April. The extension of it depends on the situation of COVID 19 spread. In daily reporting there is high jump in the number of people infected. So the next few days  are very crucial. Presently major cities like Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Jaipur are  on the hit list. There is a fear in all about community infection and if the lock down is extended the people may die more of starvation than of covid infection. Here there is no political or social commitment to meet this grave situation especially for the poor unemployed. Jaipur is one of the city under special surveillance for infection.”

 Our local staff already started to respond to the emergency, they immediately asked local police a special permission to reach the slum, where there is our Navchetan centre, in order to organize there a distribution of food and hygienic materials to all families included in our program. They will come at the centre once in a week, at agreed time in order to avoid to have more than one person at a time, and they will receive their package with all needed basic stuffs for one week.

This action is possible also because of the help of local private donors and local community, New Humanity International already allocated some fund for the response to the emergency of COVID-19 but our staff managed to start reacting even before this because of the immediate response of local community to prevent starvation of our beneficiaries.

This is a beautiful witnessing on how solidarity could start in unexpected ways and in unexpected moments.

Thanks to our local staff for their promptness to react to the emergency organizing new actions and to local donors who gave us the chance to help in this critical moment!