Caritas India, anti-coronavirus campaign for the most marginalized (Photos)

Health kits distributed to 5 thousand poor people, food to other 5 thousand families of seasonal workers, slum residents, Dalits. The toll of people infected by Covid-19 has risen to 703 and the deaths to 16. Surgical masks packed in the diocese of Miao and donated to doctors. A second priest arrested and released for celebrating a funeral.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - The Caritas India campaign to combat the spread of coronavirus has started. As announced a few days ago, the Catholic Church aid body has deployed an emergency task force to support the most isolated and disadvantaged populations, who would otherwise risk being ignored due to the total blockade in force for three weeks.

“Caritas India is a humanitarian organisation of the catholic Church in India is reaching out and extending the widows might [Mark 12,38-44] to the isolated community at national and local level”, shared Fr. Paul Moonjely, Executive Director of Caritas India speaking to AsiaNews.

The priest said that throughout the past week volunteers and directors of the association have taken action to give a concrete response to the needs of the country. Together with the partners in the area, Caritas has identified the most critical situations. Help is being carried out according to the "Be Informed, Be Trained, Be Cautioned, Be Connected & Be Compassionate" strategy.

Fr. Moonjely, explains “to begin with, Caritas India will be supporting 5000 people with hygiene kits comprising hand sanitizers, paper soaps, and face masks. Another 5000 families of Daily wage laborers, slum dwellers from Dalit and marginalized communities who have lost their daily wages due to lockdown will be provided food kits to sustain their families."

The priest expresses concern about the situation in the country. The premier's announcement to stop all production activities and transportation, he stresses, "has thrown citizens into panic, has pushed them into a race to grab essential goods. Instead, people who are less fortunate are still stuck at the mere thought of how they can survive and their livelihoods. "

In India the toll of people infected by Covid-19 has risen to 703 and the deaths to 16. Yesterday was the worst day in terms of human lives (six more victims than the previous day), but experts say that the peak has yet to arrive.

Yesterday the Christian Health Coalition wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi offering the use of all their health facilities and beds in Christian hospitals to face the pandemic, for a total of 1,000 hospitals and 60,000 hospitalizations.

Other offerings of solidarity and help come from the Catholic Church in the northeast. Some girls who had left school offered their experience to make surgical masks, under the direction of Seva Kendra Arunachal East, the social arm of the diocese. In two days, they sewed 1,000 facial masks, which they donated to the medical staff.

Meanwhile, on March 25, a second priest was arrested by Kerala police for celebrating a funeral in violation of government directives. Fr. Reji Yohanan, vicar of the Church of St. Peter of Thuvayoor South, was arrested together with the administrator and the secretary. The three were later released on bail. (A.C.F.)