‘We Will Die of Hunger First:’ India’s Poor Face World’s Largest Lockdown

Date: 2020-04-17 18:09:26

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As governments around the world try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, India has launched one of the most draconian social experiments in human history, locking down its entire population — including 176 million people who struggle to survive on $1.90 a day or less. #Coronavirus #Covid19 #CoronavirusUpdates

In an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus, India has launched one of the most draconian social experiments in human history.

Migrant workers, trying to leave New Delhi, show the challenges of social distancing in India, a country of 1.3 billion people.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the nation about the lockdown with just four hours notice in his March 24 speech.

This week, he extended it.

Rajesh Dhaikar sold balloons before the lockdown. His wife cleaned homes. Now they sit, with little food and just a few dollars in the bank.

“I don’t have any money. We don’t have much to eat. We are very troubled, ” Dhaikar said.

After two decades of strong economic growth, inequality has grown.

Harsh Mander, a columnist and social activist says the lockdown could have unintended consequences. “They keep saying we will die of this virus later, we will die of hunger first.”

Before the lockdown, Mina Jakhawadiya and her husband sold plastic goods on the streets of Mumbai. Now, they are spending weeks in a 6-by-9 foot room with no work and only a couple days of food.

“They called for the lockdown and we are obeying the rules of the lockdown,” she said.

Fatima Begum is not sure where her next meal will come from. She now depends on food donations for her family.

For those more wealthy Indians, the lockdown is less of a challenge.

“Those who have the resources to survive have everything. And for the others, you’ve pushed them into a lonely, frightening place of uncertainty,” Mander said.

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