India is experiencing a deadly wave of coronavirus deaths, and hospitals are unable to meet the demand for treatment.
People desperate for treatment are struggling to pay for oxygen and medication, according to news accounts. The poorest migrant workers and others unable to work, travel, or afford food and medical care are suffering the worst. India’s COVID-19 outbreak is resulting in more than 350,000 cases per day in the last week of April.
“Poor communities, once again, will bear the brunt,” Oxfam in India says in a statement, explaining that many people “without sanitation and using shared toilets and water points have no means to follow COVID-19 guidelines.”
Poor communities, once again, will bear the brunt
The statement further described the situation facing the most vulnerable people affected by the pandemic in India: “Sporadic lockdowns and curfews have already triggered another exodus of migrant workers, putting them at risk of not just contracting COVID-19 but also prolonged months without jobs or money.”
In the early months of the pandemic, Oxfam in India provided thousands of meals and other food to migrant workers stranded during lockdowns across the country. Oxfam in India is consulting with officials to assess the most urgent needs, and moving hygiene kits (with soap and other items people can use to keep clean and prevent transmission) to Maharashtra, one of the hardest-hit areas.
As it has already in the initial months of the pandemic last year, Oxfam intends to:
- Provide food to stranded workers and other vulnerable communities.
- Transfer cash to poor households, particularly ones headed by women, to pay for their immediate needs or establish small businesses.
- Distribute hygiene kits to people at risk, and protective equipment to health workers.