As COVID surges in Bengal, Swanirvar becomes a first responder

In West Bengal, the Covid-19 situation is dire. With hundreds wait for tests in Government Hospitals, few departments can handle the testing load. As thousands of migrant laborers are returning home from Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai, many are unintentionally bringing the virus with them.

Many people with symptoms have not been able visit hospitals for tests. With only one meal a day, their children at home are starving. Without food ration cards, they have no access to public services. The migrant workers and their families are experiencing untold levels of systemic trauma. Children are dropping out of school while incidents of domestic violence are on the rise.

The efforts of our partner Swanirvar have been diverted to handle this unfolding disaster. Additional volunteers are needed to support COVID-related relief activities in the Baduria/Swarupnagar area. The daily surge of coronavirus has reached a new high in Bengal, as well as in other Indian states. While Kolkata had been the epicenter of the disease in Bengal, the the state health ministry showed that North 24 Parganas has the second highest surges after Kolkata.

Swanirvar is distributing masks and soaps to 200 of the most vulnerable families. It has set up a community kitchen for children. Weekly clinic tests for patients with one or more co-morbidities, have been set up so these people can be admitted to the nearest Government hospital for treatment.

With only two full time doctors, AID is collaborating with Swanirvar to provide the basic needs of medicine support for the clinics. Swawinar is running a migrant help center with a 24/7 helpline for those in the Sundarban areas. It is collecting contact information of the migrant laborers and working to connect them with the government system. Swanirvar is focused on sharing important information with people in more remote areas of Sundarban who may be unable to read. More than 1 lakh people of Sundarban or Hingalganj and Sandeshkhali-II will benefit from these efforts.

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