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Hill of Hope relief response to COVID-19, update four

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.

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Hill of Hope COVID-19 lockdown relief update 3

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.

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Hill of Hope COVID-19 lockdown relief update

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 2nd 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.

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Hill of Hope responds to COVID-19 lockdown

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 13th, 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.

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