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#5: A month into relief efforts

By April 19, 2020December 23rd, 2023No Comments

Together We Can: Spread Love not Corona and related initiatives in the face of COVID-19

India’s COVID-19 count is now over 14,000, and the situation is progressively turning more tense even as the nation-wide lockdown has been extended till 3 May 2020. Within the country, Maharashtra continues to have the highest number of cases, at over 3,000.

It has been a month since we began relief efforts within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. To catch up on what we have been able to do, please check #1, #2, #3, #4, #6, #7, #8. This blog presents a summary of our efforts in the past week.

Looking Back on Week 4 of Relief Efforts

  • Our emergency relief efforts have now reached 9,052 households (45,260 persons) and we are continuing to supply vulnerable households with monthly rations. This week we were able to reach more people in the neighbouring cities of Vasai and Ulhasnagar.
  • In partnership with Blue Sea Catering and Banquets we have been able to provide 2,00,000 cooked meals to various parts of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region! Over 1,00,000 meals have been provided to the Mumbai Police force and staff in government hospitals, and 1,00,000+ more meals to migrant workers and their families living on construction sites in Navi Mumbai, to migrant workers in Wadala, and to powerloom workers stuck in Bhiwandi (Thane). The initiative in Bhiwandi is in collaboration with Anish Gawande of Youth Feed India and the local Powerloom Sangharsh Samiti.
  • We have been flooded with calls from migrant workers, stuck in various parts of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). In the past two and a half weeks, we have received 700+ calls. We have been able to resolve 100 requests so far, either directly or by passing them on to supportive networks that can help. We are in the process of ensuring that others receive support too. This work has been challenging as migrants are calling in from across the MMR, many who were supplying relief are no longer doing so and many government helpline numbers are also struggling to support people in need.
  • Our teams in other cities are also furthering relief efforts by working with local partners.
Emergency relief efforts in Kolhapur
  1. In Nashik, the YUVA team and members of youth collective Anubhav Shiksha Kendra have been distributing food to vulnerable families in different areas. Many migrant workers from Mahalwadi, in Ahmednagar district, migrate citywards in the summer months in search of work. Given the COVID-19 crisis, they are bereft of jobs. 20 households in this area were provided rations. In Kolhapur city, food was also provided to 200 citizens, including policemen, newspaper sellers and others in need.
  2. In Nagpur, YUVA and Shehar Vikas Manch, a city development forum, have supported two communities — Sumedh Nagar and Bada Indora — in preparing and submitting lists of how many persons do not have ration cards to their nearest ration office. The Collector’s office has informed that they will be using these details to facilitate access to ration for these families. We are also continuing to support the supervision on ration shops in Nagpur.
  3. In Delhi, we were able to survey 180 street vendors to consolidate their needs and demands and intend to use this information towards advocacy efforts.
  4. In Guwahati, we are supporting the food distribution drive led by Patadik Nari Samaaj (a women’s collective) and SPU personnel, Assam police. So far, relief efforts have reached 1,500 households with ration supplies, and some of the areas reached out to this week include, Nabajyoti Nagar, Dakhin Gaon, Shalabari and Bhawanipur in Noonmati, among other areas.
  5. In the past week, we have also been receiving calls for support related to the COVID-19 crisis on the 1098 emergency helpline for children in distress, as part of Childline India Foundation. For instance, in one case a mother was finding it difficult to reach out to her infant child who was with the grandparents at the time of lockdown. We were able to guide the family on the requisite permissions, so that they could safely be united. We have also been receiving calls related to children’s need for nutrition in marginalised communities and are trying to connect them to partners.

Vulnerabilities in Various Situations

A large part of our relief efforts are focused on supporting different kinds of communities (informal settlements, homeless, migrant workers). However, we are mindful of doing what we can to support the range of vulnerable situations persons are finding themselves in. This is highlighted better in the three cases given below, where we were able to provide support.

When we heard through an India Today news article that Mumbai’s famed Rambo Circus was stranded at Airoli, Navi Mumbai, and the 90 circus performers (including 5 children) and 21 animals were fast running out of food, we reached out to understand their needs and were able to supply them with rations, animal food and sanitary supplies.

YUVA’s emergency relief efforts have also reached children living in Daya Vihar Orphanage in Malad. We were able to provide rations to them and it was heartwarming to see the children enjoy their meal together.

Transgender groups who depend on daily wages are also facing shortage of food and medical supplies. With the support of a partner network in Vasai we were able to provide 52 persons with groceries.

Vulnerabilities can take on many forms and we are trying to evolve our relief response to cater to them too.

Spreading the Message!

This week we launched a video challenge to get people together on vulnerabilities and lack of access to food. We hope you will participate and help us further the conversation, so that #TogetherWeCan spread more awareness and ensure more support measures for the working class.

Our fundraising initiatives are continuing on Milaap and Ketto and we are going to keep using this support on the above-mentioned emergency relief initiatives. We are also continuing advocacy efforts with the government, at the municipal, state and central level, to demand better welfare and protection of vulnerable groups. For now we are continuing with relief efforts as mentioned, as most government initiatives are still being rolled out in phases and many more people are still not covered under these, and continue to remain vulnerable.

A Note of Thanks

Our continuing emergency relief and associated efforts have been made possible with the support of multiple partners, well-wishers, networks, organisations, administrative authorities (the MCGM, NMMC, Civil Defense Department, Maharashtra) and countless others. We would like to thank each one of them, and all our volunteers supporting every phase of the relief work, from supply management to distribution and more. We are committed to taking forward our efforts!

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