INDIA has been left reeling by the impact of Covid-19, with millions of people left without food and water.
That’s according to Edith Wilkins of the Carrigaline-based Edith Wilkins Street Children Foundation, who said the country, especially West Bengal, which has been devastated by a massive locust infestation, is in dire need of help.
She said: ‘The Prime Minister’s closing the country down on the 13th of March, with only four hours’ notice was extremely detrimental. As a result, hundreds of thousands of contract-less labourers living in overcrowded slums were ordered to go home.
‘Home for many of these impoverished workers was 700km away and so the great march began. Millions of people began moving out of the cities without food, water, or money, many are still traveling home. The scenes that followed were horrendous.’
However, Edith said some of the most heart breaking scenes are only now appearing including a toddler unknowingly tugging on the cloth sheet covering the shroud of his mother, trying to wake her up.
‘Despite this, the pandemic has brought the best out in people, especially in the voluntary sector in India. Our boys’ and girls’ residential homes are based in a safe compound, so the gates were locked and the children all closely monitored, any emergency admissions are isolated for two weeks in our sickbay. Our staff and volunteers followed this by educating the children about hygiene and the need for social distancing. However, our children living in the slums are not so fortunate.
‘In these extremely difficult circumstances, our team responded by distributing hygiene kits and dry food rations of rice and dal to those trapped in the slums.
‘However, as all our fundraisers in Ireland are cancelled, we need urgent donations to continue our work to help our team keep our children safe. At the moment there are 300 children/family members that we urgently need to get dry rations/hygiene kits to them from Covid-19. A hygiene kit costs €3 and monthly food rations is €27,’ said Edith. To help in any way, go to idonate.ie/edithwilkins79 or www.edithwilkinsfoundation.org