With the recent pandemic that's shaken the entire world. Now it's quickly spreading across different cities in our country.
On various travel, I noticed that most of them did start to wear different types of masks and few started to use their handkerchief to cover and save themselves from the Corona Virus spread. But then it's not the same with people who are working on daily wages, they are suffering the most with no job due to various business shutdown, global market slowing down and they have the least knowledge about the self-hygiene and how to fight with coronavirus.
We are taking an initiative with your help to donate free masks, sanitizers, soaps, and various products that are going to help them to fight against the deadly Corona Virus. As we are aware the only way to stop this from spreading is by taking precautions.
Over the last several days, India’s COVID-19 count has spiked (currently at 800+). There is a stark gap in state mechanisms to increase awareness on the ground, build people’s resilience, and offer adequate welfare measures. In this context, we have been reaching out to low-income and vulnerable communities to understand the situation, its impacts, and offer support. We strive to be safe in doing so.
Through this, we have been able to understand people’s level of awareness of COVID-19, and their current economic situation in the face of measures taken to contain the virus. We have focused on especially vulnerable persons — senior citizens, differently-abled persons, women-headed households, children, and young people. This has helped us understand people’s fears, needs and gauge their preparedness (especially in case a lockdown is imposed).
Overall, there is a lack of awareness on the pandemic, and rumors and misinformation are high across the regions surveyed. Of the 800 plus families* we have already reached out to, 95% of households are dependent on daily-wages. Currently, many people are foreseeing losing their current source of income; many others have stopped earning their daily wages already.
Presented below are the findings from the rapid assessment. This is an ongoing effort and will be updated as we enter the coming weeks:
- Groups that were already vulnerable, such as the homeless and individuals from disadvantaged communities (Pardhis, transgenders, and many others) are at an impasse. People who beg for a living stated that they are being shunned even more, rapidly increasing their deprivation.
- Among families who have been homeless for a long time and those who have been recently forcibly evicted, without a secure place to live and currently without a daily-income (many jobs such as garland making and food vending are no longer possible to pursue in these circumstances), many are on the brink of starvation. Numerous households are surviving on little or no food.
Lack of access to food
- While families want to avail rations through the Public Distribution System, due to the lack of/poor Aadhar-ration linkages, they aren’t receiving adequate amounts of basic grain and pulses.
- With schools being closed for the last few days, mid-day meals have also stopped. Many children depend on this meal to sustain themselves during the day.
Workers and wages
- Most homeless persons who have been unemployed since the start of the month have mentioned that especially since the start of this week (16 March 2020) it has become very difficult for them to find a means of earning.
- Most women domestic workers stated that they have been asked not to come to work. Some of them were not fully aware of the reason for the same. Across the board, they all said that they have been told that they will not be paid for these days!
- Daily-wage construction workers have not been finding work at construction sites — they are forced to stay home and have no alternate source of income.
- Vendors who sell food items are among groups that are suffering the most since people are avoiding purchasing street food. The constant talk of wholesale markets shutting down is adding to further unease among them.
- With the closure of places of worship, all associated jobs have also come to an end.
Doubly vulnerable senior citizens
- Elderly citizens employed in daily-wage labor are among groups that are suffering the most. With no source of income, they are becoming more vulnerable, even as their advanced age makes them more prone to disease, and at high-risk in the case of COVID-19. An old couple from the Pardhi community mentioned how they have resorted to begging, as no one was buying the food that they were selling, especially in the last few days.
We launched a campaign to raise funds and in-kind support to offer emergency relief food supplies to the urban poor, starting with the most marginalized families first. We have already distributed basic provisions to 200 homeless families, comprising 1,000+ individuals
We have followed a sensitive approach in providing families with a week’s worth of rations per package (Rs 800). This food kit comprises of the following: