Kolkata, Sisters of Mother Teresa distribute food to 40 thousand families
by Nirmala Carvalho

The Missionaries of Charity, with a truck and an ambulance, tour several slums in the metropolis. Gift packages containing rice, sugar, wheat flour, dried legumes, lentils. Recipients are poor, unemployed and migrants affected by the lockdown. Cyclone Amphan is coming, with winds at 185 km / h. Millions of people evacuated to India and Bangladesh.

Kolkata (AsiaNews) - The Missionaries of Charity, the sisters of Mother Teresa, have distributed food and rations for 40 thousand families. The distribution takes place in different parts of the metropolis of almost 15 million inhabitants, but especially in the very poor area of ​​Howrah.

The archbishop of Kolkata, Msgr. Thomas D’Souza is full of praise: "It is a great help for the people of Howrah, which is one of the poorest areas of the city. Sister Prema [the superior general of the Missionaries of charity] also personally distributed the gift packages to Howrah. The police directed the nuns through the maze of the place."

From March 24, with a few hours' notice, the Indian government has decreed a lockdown (quarantine for the population and industrial, commercial and transport activities). Hundreds of millions of people have lost their day jobs and wages, leaving them homeless and destitute. Many of them are migrants who have come to the city to find work, and are now unable to return to their villages.

Dominic Gomes, vicar general of the archdiocese, comments: "The Missionaries of Charity are right on the front line, in the midst of the poorest of the poor generated by the lockdown. What they do is a huge humanitarian service to those who are left without help and forgotten. "

Since the start of the lockdown, which has been extended until May 31, the various houses of Mother Teresa’s nuns have been distributing food in the most remote slums of Kolkata.

The nuns offer gift packages that contain rice, sugar, wheat flour, dried legumes, lentils. They go around the different neighborhoods with a truck and an ambulance in case some of the poor are sick. Once the distribution is complete in one area, they move to another.

Archbishop D’Souza recalls that the "Laudato Si’ week "is being celebrated in many dioceses in recent days, to reflect on climate change and the prospects of an integral ecology," but with the lockdown - he explains - we are very limited. Our most immediate concern is to find ways to help all these poor, unemployed and migrants".

At the same time, he adds, "we are preparing for the arrival of Cyclone Amphan", which is approaching the coast of Bengal with winds of 185 km / h. Millions of people are evacuated to India and Bangladesh.

“This cyclone - continues Msgr. D’Souza - has to do with Laudato Si ’because it is a sign of the devastating effect of human activities on the environment. Wild deforestation, use of gas for industry, pollution, global warming cause climate changes that make cyclones even more harmful."