The economic repercussions of COVID-19 are driving many people in India to the point of desperation. Parents cannot feed their children, people face homelessness because they can’t pay their rent, businesses are unable to operate, and day laborers cannot work to earn an income. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, India imposed one of the largest and strictest lockdowns in modern history. “Because of the lockdown, the need has increased daily,” was the recent cry from India. “No jobs . . . no money . . . no food.”
At a Glance:
India is the second most populated country in the world, with 1.4 billion people (nearly the same number of people as in China).
Millions of people lost their jobs during the COVID-19 lockdown and have no way to provide for themselves.
“I have been waking up at night due to panic attacks as I don’t know how my children are going to be fed.”—aid recipient in India
When India’s government issued this lockdown nearly six months ago, everyone hoped things would soon change and life would return to normal. But now, months later, things are becoming worse instead of better.
Although the lockdown is beginning to ease slightly, the economic damage is severe. India’s economy likely won’t recover for years. Businesses were closed for months, and many don’t have the working capital to get started again even if they would be allowed to reopen.
For millions in India, 2020 has been a year of survival. Many who have received help through CAM live in slum areas. Their major earnings come from vegetable markets, construction work, and household jobs. Now thousands of these impoverished people cannot find work. On top of this dilemma, the price of food has risen. “There are laborers who earn daily and eat their bread daily,” reports a contact in India. “If they don’t work, they don’t eat.”
“We lost hope and were thinking about ending our lives.”
Pleas for help in India have one thing in common—a cry for food. “Food is one of the greatest needs,” reported one worker in India. “People are starving.”
Before the lockdown, Jai* worked as a vendor on a train, selling household items to passengers. But since the beginning of the lockdown, he has no way to earn money. “My wife was expecting and we lost our baby in the womb because we had no food to eat for many days,” said Jai. “We lost hope and were thinking about ending our lives.”
Jai’s friend told him to contact a pastor who was helping needy families with food provided through CAM. This caring pastor soon arrived with food for Jai and his family. “We already lost our baby . . . but I want to thank Pastor Raj and his team for helping us with food,” said Jai. “We are now eating food three times every day.”
Responding to the huge needs in India
It appears that our response in India will be one of our largest Coronavirus Crisis Care projects. We are working with contacts to provide food and other help for those in desperate need. In addition to India, your generous support is helping meet the needs of thousands in other countries suffering from the economic fallout of COVID-19. Your support is humbling and is an answer to prayer for many in great need. God bless you!
Christian Aid Ministries | October 2020
*Names in this article are changed to protect identity.