"A cruel reality beyond imagination...”

In May 2021, at the request of the Asia region, the Emmaus International Board launched an emergency solidarity appeal to all the movement’s groups, to provide support to the Emmaus groups in India affected by a violent second wave of Covid-19. Today, Kamal Mayakichenane, at the Emmaus Asia Secretariat, reports on the evolving situation in India and in Bangladesh, where the figures are still worrying.

India has been hit by a huge second coronavirus wave which began around mid-March 2021 and increased rapidly in following weeks reaching a peak of more than 400 000 daily cases. Also it was the first time the daily death toll crossed the 4000 mark. Thousands of innocent people lost their lives, because they could not have right medical treatment and oxygen available on time. Reflecting back, it is like a horrifying dream. But sadly it had been a cruel reality beyond imagination. Worrying indeed, as huge psychological impact still remains. It will take a long time for many people to overcome it.

However, it is a relief now that the second Covid wave is flattening down. Covid recovery rate has increased to 90% with more people getting cured of the illness. Multiple States across India have now begun easing the lockdown restrictions which they first started imposing in mid-April as the second Covid wave hit the country, but the Centre has cautioned that the unlock process has to be slow and that Covid-appropriate behaviour needs to be strictly followed. Government has opened vaccination for everyone above the age of 18 years in the country, which should help in increasing vaccination uptake.

Emmaus groups in India are gradually opening up their activities, and have begun to implement food & health kit distribution program. It will continue for the next few weeks till the situation gets better and the works comes to more regular routine. It had been hard time for the vulnerable population as well as many other people working in unorganized sectors. Health support has emerged as a bigger need.  Medical treatment remains very expensive. Government health facilities are cracking all the time. Much health support is required in these hot and humid times when other diseases are emerging too. 

In Bangladesh, daily registered cases were getting reduced, but the condition in border areas since last few days had been worrying. Health authorities have detected the presence of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is highly contagious. Hence the country has extended border closure with India as the Covid situation in neighbouring districts of the country continued to deteriorate and declared seven border districts with complete lockdown till June 30. All kinds of activities, including public movement had been suspended, except those vehicles used for emergency services and carrying goods are allowed. The situation has affected the daily life of Emmaus groups in Bangladesh and are functioning with limited staffs to continue their routine activities till the situation turns to better.

Kamal Mayakichenane,
Emmaus Asia Secretariat