In Bangladesh, where the Delta variant of the Covid virus is raging out of control, Christian Solidarity International (CSI) is supporting a local partner to bring food aid to people in desperate need, including children living on the streets.
“People are dying on the streets and in front of hospitals. The price of rice has almost doubled, along with that of other foodstuffs. We don’t know what to do, the situation is hopeless.” This was the alarming message CSI received from project partner William Sammader on July 28.
Sammader and his team have been working non-stop since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic in Bangladesh last summer to bring relief to those who have lost their livelihoods and means of self-support owing to the lockdown. They have delivered hundreds of food parcels, as well as masks, soap and disinfectant.
One year on, the team is tired. But instead of getting better, the Covid situation has become much worse in recent weeks with the spread of a highly infectious variant.
“This time we are really nervous. Young people are dying of the new Delta variant,” said Samadder, noting that the virus has spread from the cities to rural areas. On July 29, following a religious holiday when thousands of people traveled to see their families, squeezing into overfilled public transportation, 16,000 new cases were recorded. Less than three percent of Bangladesh’s 160 million population have been vaccinated.
Food for streetchildren
Children are suffering the most, our partner reports. For 18 months they have not been able to go to school, and very few have mobile phones or internet access for online home schooling. As a result, thousands have been forced into child labor or child marriage as their only means of survival.
In response to the rising need, Samadder’s team have now resumed the distribution of food to streetchildren in the capital, Dhaka, that they carried out last October and November. Every day some 100 children visit the street kitchen and are ensured at least one hot meal daily. The children feel safe and protected, knowing their needs are being taken care of.
Samadder reports that during one distribution of meals a young boy recounted how he had been stopped on the street by a policeman who told him to stay at home. “That stupid policeman, if he only knew that I don’t have a home”, the boy told Samadder.
Your donations allow CSI to continue to support the vital work of William Samadder and his team. Thanks for giving generously.