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ACORN Kenya: Organizing in Korogocho During Coronavirus

Korogocho being one of the poorest settlements and our main point of organizing has been greatly affected by this pandemic of Coronavirus. It has been a very difficult times for the people particularly on meeting some of these conditions set by the ministry, such as the social distancing within the community due to the high population and the housing condition and their status in that you find families living in an average of 5 to 10 people under one room of 10×10, others sharing common facility like latrine in an average of 15 to 50 people, poor sanitation and garbage disposal.

All in all a lot is needed to support the community members who are really suffering and at great risk of getting the infection. Government has done very little to support the poor within these settlements and the little that has been out sometimes ends in the hands of those who still have living the needy helpless.

ACORN distributing sanitizers and food stuff to the community members. The event took place at GUREC center which is one of our partner schools.

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ACORN Peru on the Frontlines

In Peru, the Government decreed a Health Emergency on March 14th. We have 46 days in a state of emergency, with an order of social isolation, some regions of Peru and districts of Lima did not comply with the isolation and social distancing and for today April 30, there are officially 36,976 confirmed cases of COVID 19 and 1051 dead.

The deficient National Health system and informal labor with low capacity to save led people from extreme poverty districts to continue going out to work for daily sustenance, regardless of health.

At this time, the health services of public hospitals have collapsed, there are no more oxygen points or hospital beds.

Health personnel infected with COVID -19 for lack of Personal Protective Equipment.

We are currently going through a serious crisis in Public and economic health.

• In San Juan de Lurigancho, the largest district in Peru and with the largest population, it is the district with the most Confirmed cases of COVID 19 .

• The SJL population is one with a high level of vulnerability, since they work informally, they do not have savings to face social isolation.

• They are on the streets like any other day, people do not take into account that they can get it, the concern is day by day, to generate to feed their families.

• According to surveys They prefer to DIE FROM COVID THAN TO DIE FROM HUNGER

• Education, virtual and remote education is being applied and the students are being affected, because it does not have the resources to access the Internet or devices such as computers or cell phones, such as ACORN Peru, we have managed webcam cameras, in order to reach to more students, since many are leaving to study.

• Economy, We carry out virtual actions with other organizations “CACEROLAZO” in favor of those who need it most, for THE UNIVERSAL BONUS, of 1000 soles, got 760 soles, which does not have a job.

• Health, As a nurse I have to be very close and care for people with COVID 19. These actions allow me to see and fight against the invisible enemy called CORONAVIRUS; It also allows me to educate the population and become aware of this pandemic.

Report from Orfa, ACORN Peru

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Inside the Slumdog Millionaire Neighbourhood Suffering India’s Punitive Lockdown Measures

Social distancing is impossible, and life is becoming very hard for the slum’s hundreds of thousands of residents

By Namrata Kolachalam

24 April 2020 • 8:53pm

Authorities in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum – home to one million people – are turning to increasingly harsh measures to enforce coronavirus lockdown rules, with residents saying they are often beaten if they leave their homes, and surveillance drones hovering overhead.

The Covid-19 pandemic is expected to hit India hard, with 23,452 reported cases and 723 deaths, hospitals across the country are already overwhelmed.

With poorly ventilated, dense housing, populations in slums like Dharavi are expected to be badly affected by the virus.

But residents of Asia’s largest slum, perhaps best known as the setting for rags-to-riches blockbuster Slumdog Millionaire, are worried they are being treated like ‘animals’ as authorities consider testing an unproven drug linked to heart attacks on them in a bid to find a cure for the virus.

Javed Shaikh, a local tour guide who has lived in Dharavi his whole life, says that food is scarce and police attack people with sticks when they venture out of their cramped homes.

Mr Shaikh, like many of the slum’s citizens, lives with five family members in a home that measures 100 ft sq. “It’s very very tiny. It’s like a small cage,” he tells The Sunday Telegraph.

Drones now circle over the corrugated iron rooftops to monitor activity in hard-to-access pockets of Dharavi, making residents nervous.

“Police flew a drone over our neighborhood and saw some people sitting outside collecting water,” one resident, who wishes to stay anonymous, says.

“So they came and started hitting people with their sticks. I was standing in the doorway and they pushed me inside.”

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the slum increases daily – up to 214 as of Thursday night – the local economy has come to a standstill as authorities ratchet up containment efforts.

As part of these efforts to stop the pandemic, Mumbai city officials are considering testing anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a prophylaxis – where medicine is given to healthy people to prevent infection – on groups of people in Dharavi and another nearby slum.

The drug has been touted by Donald Trump, the US president, as a “game changer” for the coronavirus, but it has not been proven to significantly treat the virus and it comes with serious side-effects including increased risk of heart attacks, nausea, and blurred vision.

Sabina Khan, who lives in Dharavi with her son, is wary about the trials.

“I don’t feel right about it, we’re not animals,” she says, adding: “But this kind of thing is not new for us.”

Vinod Shetty, a human rights lawyer and founder of Acorn Foundation, an NGO that works with slum dwellers, says: “Residents feel they will be treated badly, as usual. And that comes from their long experience with public hospitals and authorities.”

Dharavi is a vibrant community and an economic powerhouse in Mumbai, with an annual economic output of $1bn. Prior to lockdown, its inhabitants worked in Dharavi’s thousands of factories or fanned across the city to serve as labourers and domestic staff.

Mr. Shetty says governments have depended on Dharavi for labour to transform Mumbai into a global city, but little has been done for the neighbourhood’s residents.

“They live in conditions like 1920s England,” he says.

Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, was praised by some for swiftly implementing the lockdown on India’s 1.3 bn people in March, but many have pointed out that the tactic disproportionately affects the poorest. Just under half of Mumbai’s population live in slums like Dharavi.

Social distancing is all but impossible and containment is an uphill task. Lack of infrastructure means hundreds of people rely on community toilets and throngs of people stand in line to purchase food at the markets, which are only open for a few hours each morning.

Mrs Khan says that “shopkeepers are raising prices day by day” and staple products such as matchboxes, rice, and nuts are more expensive now.

Many people in Dharavi – including thousands of migrant workers – lack a government-issued ration card that would entitle them to small amounts of rice and wheat flour.

Laxmi Kamble, a Dharavi resident, is unable to access her government allotment because her name is listed on her ex-husband’s ration card and she does not have her own.

Residents say they have received little help accessing food.

Mr Shetty says Acorn Foundation members have distributed more than 7,000 meals within Dharavi, but that he is worried about how to keep everyone safe.

“There is a constant danger that our volunteers and staff are being exposed to coronavirus.”

Municipal officials say they are working to increase the food supply in Dharavi, and that they have distributed more than 20,000 packets of groceries so far.

According to Kiran Dighavkar, assistant municipal commissioner who oversees Dharavi, officials have focused on five “red zones” where the majority of cases are located; these areas have been sealed from the general public, and food and medicine are being delivered to each family’s doorstep.

A group of more than twenty doctors, many of them volunteers, have gone door-to-door to conduct thermal imaging scans of 50,000 people.

The government is also rapidly working to expand its quarantine capacity, from 1,200 beds to 2,000 beds within the next few days.

For Mr Shaikh, the tour guide, there is little to do now except wait for the lockdown to end on May 3. He hopes that it will not be extended again, but that remains a possibility.

“It’s a difficult time for all of us,” Mr Shaikh says. “We have to control the virus, so we stay at home. But we should do something fast, so that we can go outside again. And go to work.”

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