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With no food or money, India's slum dwellers struggle

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 01:44s - Published
With no food or money, India's slum dwellers struggle

With no food or money, India's slum dwellers struggle

Bharpai, a 54-year-old Indian grandmother, is desperate to keep her family safe from a raging coronavirus crisis amid an unprecedented lockdown.

Bharpai says since the nationwide lockdown was announced, she and her family have been without access to work or food, and she feels scared and exposed to the spread of coronavirus.

Libby Hogan reports.

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To die of the coronavirus or die of hunger - many in India's slums feel like they are in a desperate predicament.

Bharpai, a 54-year-old grandmother, who lives on the fringes of New Delhi is trying to keep her family of nine safe: (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) 54-YEAR-OLD RESIDENT OF DELHI'S ANNA NAGAR SLUM CLUSTER, BHARPAI, SAYING: "What should I do, I had rations (food) for two to three days, and even that will be finished by now.

We will die of hunger.

Earlier (we) were dying from the coronavirus, now we will die from hunger.

Where do we go to earn (a living)?" Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown last week to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Without a way to earn money, India's poor say they can't put food on the table.

Bharphai used to make about $3 [US] dollars a day, picking up rubbish -- but the lockdown means she can't work.

She is obeying the rules, and keeping herself busy overseeing her grandchildren studying but some of her neighbors aren't.

(SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) 54-YEAR-OLD RESIDENT OF DELHI'S ANNA NAGAR SLUM CLUSTER, BHARPAI, SAYING: "Police are telling us to stay indoors, inside our houses, so I am keeping my family and children at home, but other people are not obeying the orders.

I can only ensure the safety of my house but what can I do about others - I tell them too, but they don't listen." In another slum, home to rickshaw drivers, labourers and waste pickers, they face a similar struggle a lack of food and money to access any medical facilities even if they do get sick.

(SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) 64-YEAR-OLD SLUM RESIDENT, ZAHID ALI, SAYING: "Everybody is disturbed here.

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This is hopeless, it is better all together to just kill people." The government announced a $22.6 billion plan to provide direct cash transfers and food handouts to India's poor, but many like Bharpai have yet to see the funds trickle down.



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