Lockdown Woes: Millions of labourers still far from home

Your small contribution can mean a safe passage for thousands

THE coronavirus lockdown has hammered the poorest of the poor, leaving them with no work and no means to earn their livelihood. Migrant workers and daily wage labourers have been the most adversely affected by it and from the time the nationwide lockdown was imposed most have been largely unsuccessful in their attempts to return to their homes and villages from the cities they live in.

Stranded, with no means to support themselves, no food or clean water, many migrant workers have resorted to harrowing journeys home on foot, cycles, hitchhiking or any other means available. Many are still waiting, dangerously vulnerable to both Covid-19 and starvation.

Treacherous journeys

More than 300 people have died since the lockdown began due to exhaustion, hunger and road and rail-related accidents on the highways of India. On top of that, the heatwave sweeping through Northern India and the unavailability of vehicles or transportation even now is intensifying the ongoing ordeals of millions of people.

Shakuntala, whose husband Rakesh lost his job as industries in Nashik, Maharashtra, shut down due to the lockdown, risked a 1,000km walk to her village in Satna, Madhya Pradesh in the ninth month of her pregnancy. She had to give birth on the roadside and walk 160 kilometres just an hour after giving birth (full story by Animesh Jain in The Times of India).

On  May 27, a tragic video was widely shared in which a woman, identified as Arvina Khatun, is seen lying on a railway platform, having died due to hunger and dehydration, while her toddler son is playfully tugging at the blanket covering her, trying to wake her up. The mother and child had been waiting for a passage just to go home (full story by Arshad R. Zargar, CBS News

Safe passage

Incidents like these are sadly not isolated and have become a part of the harrowing ordeal of migrant workers more than two months into the world’s largest lockdown. While the government has tried to ensure the safe passage for our migrant citizens, services like the special Shramik trains have been overwhelmed and have seen people travelling in unhygienic conditions with no access to either food or water resulting in over 80 deaths till now. 

Sadly, there are still lakhs of informal sector workers stranded in cities they had migrated to for work, now without jobs or means of income, who simply want to return to their native places.

We all must stand in solidarity with our migrant workers and their families and do everything in our power to get them to their homes safely. Please come forward and donate online as much or as little as you can. A little help from you can make a big difference in the lives of thousands of families. 

Donate travel tickets for migrant workers.

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