COVID hits adivasi village Mozda

As the second wave wreaks destruction and misery all over the country, one question we all have is how are rural areas and relatively smaller places faring? Here is an update from our long term partner and friend of AID,  Anand who lives in Narmada district in Gujarat.

While we were mostly spared during the last wave, things are not really good this time around in Mozda, surrounding areas and, in fact, rural areas across the country. We see a disaster unfolding in Mozda area right now. Every second house has people sick. According to Jayanti, a local activist, there must be almost 200 people sick in Mozda (a village of 700 people). All with COVID symptoms. No one is prepared to travel 60 km for a test. Also there is fear of being quarantined, losing family contact etc. In recognition of that, the government has set up a Rapid Antigen Test centre in Dediapada bus depot (nearest market town), but there was no one there when we visited.

Dediapada is a town of about 5000 people (with an additional migrant population that varies), mostly government employees and traders. 2 to 4 deaths daily has been a regular phenomenon, but there was a day this week when 7 deaths happened and then another day when 10 deaths happened. And on 27th April, there were 20 deaths in a single day in Dediapada! Town traders have a self-imposed lockdown for 4 days, open 3 days, lockdown again for 4 days and so on.  Both, the absolute number as well as the increase in number are alarming.

Some questions to think about:

a) breakdown in infrastructure and coping mechanisms is so complete and pervasive: medicines, oxygen, ventilators, hospital beds, crematoria and burial grounds. Is there a way back to square one?
b) long term solutions lie in economy and employment reorientation, why should “work from home” be only a white collar privilege?
Are we even asking these questions

AID is in conversation with Mozda collective and BSFC to see how it can help.

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