India is battling a devastating second wave of Covid-19 and a humanitarian crisis. The number of new cases and deaths are escalating each day. This is a health catastrophe and the most vulnerable are hit hardest.
Some frontline workers have no access to protective equipment and are exposed to infection. This includes those working in overwhelmed mortuaries and burial sites, and women domestic workers caring for people with the virus.
Our colleagues in ActionAid Association India are providing much needed support to vulnerable workers and communities. For example, they are providing safety and sanitation kits, and food relief for thousands of informal workers on the frontlines of the Covid crisis.
In addition, helplines, run by ActionAid Association India in five provinces, are tackling misinformation. They are providing up-to-date information on the availability of hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and Covid vaccines.
Informal & Migrant Workers
Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director of ActionAid Association India, says:
“This devastating second wave of Covid-19 infections is leaving India’s army of informal and migrant workers more vulnerable than ever. We have people who are working around the clock to bury the dead and women working in people’s homes to care for the sick and dying, all with little protection or support.”
“Covid vaccines must be made available for everyone, free of charge. We also need to support our workers and communities with protective equipment, testing and public health information to help prevent the spread of the virus and protect the most marginalised.”
Women & Girls in India
Hardest hit by the second wave are Women, girls and the most marginalised. ActionAid sees that the further surge is putting women and girls, and all those in informal work at risk.
Sion Kongari, ActionAid Association India’s Regional Manager of Programmes in Rajasthan and Gujarat, told us: “Women and girls hadn’t recovered from the impact of the first wave of the pandemic when they were hit by this rapidly escalating second wave. Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen rising violence against women and girls, increases in child marriage and sexual exploitation.”
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Photograph of ration kit distribution by ActionAid Association India.