PARA, Ravulapalem, 31 March 2020: People’s Action for Rural Awakening (PARA) takes the lead in alleviating the sufferings of the poor in the Lockdown fallout. People’s Action for Rural Awakening is leading in bringing together the Civil Society Organizations in Rajahmundry in reaching out to those adversely affected by the sudden lockdown declared by the Indian Central and State Governments. It pledges to be by the side of the East Godavari district administration to bring a measure of relief to more than 1000 people displaced in Rajahmundry by the sudden declaration of lockdown by the government. The effort is from 21st March 2020 and will continue till the lockdown ends on 14th April.
This sudden move by the government, despite the call not to panic, has inevitably set in motion an unparalleled situation with lakhs of people across the nation being stranded away from their homes – made to walk on highways towards their hometowns / villages as far away as 500 to 1000 kilometers. Thousands of people have been trekking back to their homes with their entire family in toe along with their meagre belongings. This is indeed a grave humanitarian crisis. The saving grace is the civil society, along with government, is trying to reach out to these disadvantaged people. In many places the state machinery, particularly the police force has reported to be beating up people trekking home or those trying to meet their near and dear ones in predicament or out trying to buy essential goods for their daily needs.
Along with the district authorities and a network of civil society organizations, PARA is reaching out to the people in need of emergency relief. So far, the common relief programme reached out to 1000 people who needed to be provided food. This has now been going for the last four days and will continue till the end of the lockdown. 1500 people in Rajahmundry have been provided with sanitizers and 400 with face masks. Inmates of Surakshita, the home for orphan girls and women in distress run by the Missionary Sisters of Mary Help of Christians (MHMC), set up by PARA, is in the process of making 5,000 face masks. PARA is buying masks from different individuals who are stitching and is hiring the tailors to stitch the same. Although there is an acute shortage of face masks here in Rajahmundry, still the staff and volunteers of PARA are able to distribute 4000 masks so far. Toilet articles and stationery have been distributed freely to 300 Migrants who are shifted to the Shelters.
It is gratifying to note how several philanthropists have come forward to the help of those who are quarantined in Rajahmundry. About 500 are being provided free meals including migrants who needed food by 3 major hospitality businesses of the city: Shelton, River Bay and La Hospin. They deliver the food in the homes of such people. The remaining 500 are fed by the Civil Society Orgnaisations led by PARA. Fr Ignatius, the director of PARA, Mr Ameer Muhamad, the coordinator of Child Friendly City Initiative, Mr Anup Jain, Vikram Jain and others formed a core team that coordinates these arrangements.