The last two years for the Nutrition Program, like most areas of our life, have been dominated by Covid 19 and the responses to it.
Within the first two weeks of lockdown we were able to assist over 2000 families in Hyderabad environs, involving over 5 tonnes of foodstuffs. Elsewhere, with wonderful assistance from local volunteers, we were able to assist over 1200 families in Andhra Pradesh, and around 1000 in West Bengal, as well as financial assistance in some other states in India.
This newsletter also contains details of all the centres from which the nutrition drink is provided.
Another month has slipped by under lockdown, though with the easing of some restrictions, life has become more settled for many. The ‘migrant’ labourers from other states were finally able to head home on special trains or buses, or completed epic journeys on foot. The arrival of the rains in many areas during the first week of June has reduced the temperatures from 40°C (105°F) to the low 30s so it is more pleasant for all.
But as the ‘lockdown’ weeks stretch into months, and India’s daily new cases of COVID-19 hit record heights each day (22,000 yesterday), the local communities are facing new challenges.
It is now just over two months since the Lockdown began, and although there has been a little easing of restrictions, millions of people in the lowest economic stratas are struggling to meet their daily needs. Over the two weeks since our last Update, Hill of Hope has continued to try and meet the needs of families within reach of our programmes.
The beginning of May saw a major change in the focus of our work in providing Relief to the migrant workers and their families. On the night of May 2 the State Govt. announced that with immediate effect, 40 trains a day, for the next seven days, would leave Hyderabad for the specific purpose of allowing Migrants to return to their home states. By midnight hundreds were packed and making their way along the roads to the train stations, usually 20 or so kilometres away. By early morning thousands were on the move. What they did not know was that first their names, with destination desired, must be registered with the nearest Police Station and that they would then be notified on which day their train would depart; and that buses would take them to the station.
From March 22 India has been in lockdown, which has caused serious problems for millions of Indians. Many of India’s workforce are daily labourers, millions of whom move across the different states in search of work. So, from March 22 these people have had no employment, and if they are from interstate, no access to local Govt. welfare handouts. They cannot travel to their home states as there is no transport, public or private of any kind, except for Emergency Relief vehicles for transport of food and medical supplies. As the lockdown continues the situation for these people is becoming more desperate.
From April 13, with the Lockdown three weeks old, and permission to move about, with the Govt Child Welfare officer in our team, Hill of Hope began distributing food parcels in areas of most need around Hyderabad city.