Battling Hunger Crisis Along with Coronavirus

The fight against hunger and COVID-19

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In such a crisis situation, various private players and non-profitable organisations have also taken initiative and are providing meals and raising funds to the people facing hunger. IANS

BY PUJA GUPTA

“Corono can kill us only when we will be alive,” grieved Basbeer Ahmed, a daily-wage labourer who has lost his job due to the nationwide lockdown in the country and is struggling to manage two-time meals for his family.

“Hunger will kill us first, forget coronavirus. I used to earn on a daily basis and somehow managed to fed my two daughters with whatever I could manage with the small amount of money I would earn. But that income is gone now. Whatever I had saved is also finished. Today I am left with nothing. There is no work, no food,” he said.

Like Ahmed, several daily-wagers working at construction sites, retail outlets, restaurants, food and their hyperlocal delivery partners and local transport systems have lost their livelihood because of the shutdown in the country till April 14, taken as a precautionary measure against the spread of the pandemic Covid-19.

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The fight against hunger

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Amid the lockdown, volunteers take to battling hunger crisis. IANS

Even though the central and state governments have rolled out various measures to ensure no one in the country sleeps empty stomach, looking at the dense population in a country like India, it becomes a herculean task to achieve.

In such a crisis situation, various private players and non-profitable organisations have also taken initiative and are providing meals and raising funds to the people in distress.

Zomato has initiated a project called the �Feed the Daily Wager’ to raise funds to provide food support to families who used to survive on daily wages and help them have a reliable supply of meals in the absence of employment opportunities.

“We are fundraising to enable the purchase of essentials such as atta, dal and chawal for slums and migrant labours. Along with partner NGOs, we will formulate the responsible delivery of these essentials to those in need,” said the company spokesperson.

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According to the figures available on their website, Rs 14,92,97,971 of Rs 50 crore goal have been raised. You can also donate and choose to support one family (Rs 500), three families (Rs 1,500), five families (Rs 2,500) or any amount by logging on at https://www.feedingindia.org/donate.

“Youth Feed India” is another such initiative with the mission of #HelpTheHungry. It was started by Shaaz Mehmood (Hyderabad), Tanya Mallavarapu Reddy (Chennai) and Deepti Katragadda Reddy (Bangalore) few days back and has raised Rs 75 lakh funds in the first phase.

The project aims to “ensure that the Indian daily wage worker, migrant laborer, and single mothers who are out of work due to the lock down are provided basic food to survive this challenging period”.

The movement till now has touched over 20,000 underprivileged Indians and aims to help over 40,000 more. Each care package that they put together costs around Rs 500 to feed a family for nearly a week.

Donate today for distribution in Hyderabad, Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai through logging on at www.ketto.org/fundraiser/SAFAforCorona or https://pages.razorpay.com/Covid19Relief or through direct account payment.

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“This is our youth generation’s World War 3 and we play a role to create responsible action to support government initiatives. Every community should have a Youth Feed India programme. Solving the starvation problem is in our hands,” said Mehmood.

Rasoi On Wheels Foundation, which is a mobile kitchen service started three years back, is providing healthy, nutritious, tasty, wholesome and hygienic packed meal boxes to the “less privileged” people during these testing times. They are also distributing packed atta, rice, dal and oil to needy families in Delhi.

The organisation was earlier providing around 2,500-3,000 food packets which has now been increased to almost 10,000 boxes, being distributed in Delhi and NCR, said Atul Kapur, founder of the foundation.

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“Hunger will kill us first, forget coronavirus,” says a daily-wage labourer. IANS

You can also donate to the cause. The cost of one meal is Rs 31, so you can donate for as many as you want. Log on to their website rasoionwheels.com or pay through Paytm on 9811982272/9811015420. You can also transfer the amount directly to their bank account.

Another pan-India voluntary group called Caremongers India is also raising funds, especially for the elderly population. As people above 60 years are more vulnerable and are easy targets for the virus to get infected it, special care has to be given to the elderly people apart from keeping them indoor and maintain social distancing.

Also Read- Ways to Develop Leadership in Children

If you are (or know) a citizen in need, you can register to their Pan-India Citizen database at https://forms.gle/5gsWUH7pUS8GTsiYA. All details will be maintained with the strictest confidentiality. Their volunteers will be in touch with you regularly to ensure that your needs are met.

If you’d like to volunteer, fill in your details at https://forms.gle/UPsZP2hxTkGDNqLP8. (IANS)

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Social Media: A Boon Amid Lockdown

Social media has proved itself a boon, be it dealing with a crisis or emergency and sometimes even saving a life

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Social media has proved its worth in these times. Pixabay

BY PUJA GUPTA

There have been several incidents when social media has proved itself a boon; be it dealing with a crisis or emergency and sometimes even saving a life. There are various groups and communities formed on different platforms that work as a support system of communities.

‘My Pincode’ is one such group on Facebook that was launched by the NGO Social Media Matters in April when the entire country was confined in their houses. It is about local groups on Facebook to virtually connect, communicate, collaborate and create a support system for each other in their respective pincode areas. These groups bring together users, community leaders, subject matter experts, resource points and organizations at a very hyper-local level to provide immediate support, relief, and share critical information.

Blood donation, ration supply, repair work, daily essential information, government advisories are the highlights of My Pincode as these demands top the charts across posts made by users. Partners like Sarvahitey, Akshay Patra Foundation, Blood Bank were fundamental in their roles to look into all the requests and take immediate action.

Shantanu Garg, who lives in West Delhi, posted on the group requesting for a blood donor on behalf of a friend. Within a few hours, moderators of the group who tagged all volunteers and other admins and started reaching out to other blood donor agencies were able to arrange the required amount of blood. There have also been other instances of such donor requests. Sajal Bhateja’s request for urgent requirement of blood on South Delhi Group was also addressed in two hours.

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There are various groups and communities formed on different platforms that work as a support system of communities. Pixabay

Other topics that are being discussed on the groups are:

Which is the nearest clinic I can visit?

Where can I get emergency help?

What does the situation look like right now on the roads?

What are the queues like at the shops?

How much longer will supplies last?

Are courier services working in the area?

Which are the nearest Government and Private Testing Centres?

Can I visit the police stations?

Are postal services working in the area?

How do I obtain a curfew pass?

What is the situation at the hospitals?

Are there any blood donor requests?

In an attempt to bring together communities from 170 hotspots of India across 17 states (as identified by the Central Government of India in April 15, 2020) and crowdsource help, open groups have been formed and are being managed by moderators and group admins, trained by the NGO. It will be further extended to 32 states and union territories.

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Social media groups bring together users, community leaders, subject matter experts, resource points, and organizations at a very hyper-local level to provide immediate support. Pixabay

Each state has a moderator and several admins who have been moderating the discussions and letting users connect with each other for essential and verified information as to keep fake profiles/information away.

Also Read: Beat Summer Heat With these Coolers

Every day the lead moderators sift through all the groups to look for any inappropriate content that is posted/approved/queried. As soon as users post on the group, the network of admins gets activated and they look into the prime information or request made by the user. Once that is identified, the request is verified and then the network gets activated to resolve the request. (IANS)

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3 Live Coronaviruses Don’t Match COVID-19 in Wuhan Lab

Three strains of live coronaviruses in the Wuhan Institute of Virology don't match the virus that causes COVID-19

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None of the 3 live Coronaviruses in Wuhan lab matched the virus that causes COVID-19. Pixabay

There are three strains of live coronaviruses in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but none matches the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the director of the institute.

In an interview to state broadcaster CGTN aired on Saturday night, Wang Yanyi said that any suggestion that the SARS-CoV-2 leaked from her institute is “pure fabrication”.

After the COVID-19 outbreak started in Wuhan late last year and eventually became a global pandemic, the biosafety laboratory in China’s Hubei province has been in the eye of a storm as conspiracy theories suggesting the virus could have leaked from the lab started gaining traction.

Those were later even picked by US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

However, Wang stressed that the “current consensus of the international academic community is that the virus originated from wild animals.”

She also underlined the need for global cooperation to find answers to questions such as where the viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2 are.

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The world need to cooperate over this as there are many viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2. (Representational Image). Pixabay

“Now we have three strains of live viruses. One of them has the highest similarity, 96 per cent to the SARS virus. But their highest similarity to SARS-CoV-2 only reaches 79.8 per cent,” Wang told the broadcaster.

Also Read: Homecations: The New Way To Unwind This Summer Amid Lockdown

Over 5.3 million people in the world have so far tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 3,40,000 have died due to the pandemic, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Wang said that her institute first received the clinical sample of the unknown pneumonia on December 30 last year. Before that they did not know the virus even existed.

“After we checked the pathogen within the sample, we found it contained a new coronavirus, which is now called SARS-CoV-2. We didn’t have any knowledge before that, nor had we ever encountered, researched or kept the virus,” she said. (IANS)

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DMRC Uses Pictorial Messages to Spread Awareness on COVID-19

The campaign of pictorial awareness has been planned under the supervision of DMRC's Safety department

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DMRC spreads awareness among citizens about COVID-19 through pictorial messages. Wikimedia Commons

Amid lockdown 4.0 and halted service of the metro rail in the city, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is engaged in spreading awareness about COVID-19 disease at its construction sites through pictorial messages, according to Covid-19 pandemic in India updates.

In a press statement, the DMRC said, “Along with all conventional methods to raise awareness about this pertinent issue, a number of pictorial awareness messages have been painted at DMRC’s sites so that the workers keep getting reminded about the precautions while at work.”

The campaign has been planned under the supervision of DMRC’s Safety department.

The DMRC asserted that all relevant government guidelines and advisories have been taken into consideration while planning the content. Easy language and pictorials have been used so that the messages are satisfactorily conveyed.

The DMRC said that getting the messages painted was a major challenge as most of the painters, who are generally engaged for such assignments, were unavailable during the ongoing lockdown. As an alternative mechanism, printed banners in flex were installed at a number of locations. “While the messages are largely bilingual, a lot of focus has been laid on the use of Hindi as a lot of workers are more proficient in reading Hindi,” said the DMRC.

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Painters were unavailable for making such messages because of the lockdown, said DMRC. (Representational Image). Pixabay

At present, the corporation is carrying out construction at about five to six different sites in the city including work sites of Dhansa, Airport Express Line expansion work in Dwarka as well as sites/casting yards for Phase 4 projects.

Also Read: Cybercrime on Rise During Pandemic, Warns UN

It said that all guidelines set by the government agencies are being implemented while resuming works and contractors and workers are being sensitised about the precautionary guidelines at the beginning of work during the tool workshops.

“Displays with the necessary information regarding social distancing have been installed at the sites. Masks, sanitizers and thermal scanners have been made available at the sites as well. DMRC’s engineers are keeping a very close eye at the sites to ensure all norms are followed,” it said. (IANS)