Lockdowns have put people under unimaginable strain for months. For the millions of people who depend on a daily wage, losing work for just one day – let alone months – leaves them unable to put food on the table.
With no savings or safety net to fall back on, starvation can be a bigger threat to some than coronavirus. And as the pandemic continues, this threat continues to grow.
Mina*, from Mali, has nine children to feed. After losing her husband a year and a half ago, she looks after her own children as well as his children from other marriages.
Before the pandemic, she was already struggling to provide for her extended family on the little money she makes from selling items on the streets. During lockdown, she was no longer able to go out and make money, and her children soon started to go hungry.
‘I started living in depression because of worries,’ she says.
To make matters worse, severe flooding hit her village, destroying part of the family’s home. Mina didn’t know where to turn for help.
‘We were really in need of all basics to survive and worried because we did not know where the salvation would come from. We did not know how we would eat that evening,’ Mina remembers.
In Mali, Tearfund’s local partners have been providing emergency relief. They were able to provide Mina’s family with food, cleaning supplies, and information about how to protect themselves against coronavirus.
‘I could say nothing but thank you. I thought deep down it was a dream, but it is a reality.’
‘We can only thank you and may God reward you a hundredfold,’ says Mina. ‘You have had mercy on widows and orphans.’
Lockdown with a newborn
In Nepal, Kabita had recently given birth when lockdown hit. Both her and her husband, Gangaram, had stopped work temporarily to look after their newborn daughter.
The couple work as casual labourers, earning a minimal daily wage which barely covers their basic needs. They couldn’t afford to take much time off, so Gangaram planned to go back to work as soon as possible. However, when the government announced a national lockdown due to coronavirus, there was no work to go back to.
Usually, Kabita and her family can only afford to eat one or two meals a day. But now, as their savings and food quickly ran out, even a daily meal for the whole family was impossible.