Translated from Tamil by Nisha Felicita
One virus has brought the whole world to a standstill. Despite all the technology we have, finding a cure and a vaccine is proving to be tough. More than 16 million people across the world have contracted the virus, and there is no end in sight. Many people have been affected in various ways, some more than others. People have lost their lives, their livelihood and their loved ones.
Stress, grief, anxiety are common occurrences now, along with depression. People struggle to make it through the day. People cannot even buy essentials in the states that have strict lockdowns; food and amenities are scarce. In Tamil Nadu, especially in rural areas, this has brought on a reality where people have to make do without food. Farmers, daily wage workers are facing poverty; many cannot even afford to buy a packet of milk for their babies. Though many lives have been lost due to the disease, many have died due to starvation and suicide too.
Prescription pills cannot be purchased; people are unable to go to hospitals for emergencies and regular treatments. Pregnant women need their regular check-ups and scans during this time for their own health and their child’s, but right now, they have no access to transport to visit hospitals. Some full term-pregnant women have lost their lives due to either lack of access to healthcare or refusal of admission in hospitals. Many people can’t afford to visit hospitals due to lack of money.
Older people at a higher risk of contracting the disease, even in this situation, are forced to step out to buy their medications and essentials by themselves.
There are a lot of people who migrate to different states to find work due to the lack of employment in their own villages. The husband usually leaves the wife and children at home and migrates to find work. Sometimes, entire families travel together. At this stage, however, all forms of transport have been affected, and many migrant workers struggled to get back home and find food and money. A lot of them have also died trying to reach their villages.
The impact of this pandemic has been severe. Although a lot of states are opening up, we have to take precautions, and the government needs to assess the healthcare system in India closely and make drastic improvements to the welfare and recovery plans to help marginalized people survive these difficult times. As citizens, we should help each other out through these tough times, and follow the rules and regulations that have been set for our own safety and the safety of others around us.
This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.