Coronavirus: Social malaise rising with unemployment
by Sumon Corraya

Jany Rozario, a 40-year-old Catholic woman, committed suicide after she lost her job. The pandemic is devastating Bangladesh’s economy. Unemployment stands at 13 per cent with 16.4 million new poor this year. Many of the jobless leave urban centres for their home villages.

 


Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Jany Rozario, a 40-year-old Catholic woman, took her own life after losing her job due to the coronavirus. Hers is one of the many stories of poverty and social malaise that underscore the tragic effects of the pandemic crisis.

Jany worked for a private company. After she was laid off, to survive, she moved in with her father's family in Bahimaly, a village that is part of Bonpara parish.

Divorced, she suffered from stress. Before her suicide on 11 July, she wrote a letter explaining that she wanted to die because her family would no longer accept her since she was unemployed.

Overall, the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the local economy, upturning the lives of millions of people.

According to a recent study by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, the imposition of the lockdown in March raised the country’s unemployment level to 13 per cent. This means that this year, an estimated 16.4 million people will join the ranks of the poor.

Higher unemployment is also reflected in the sharp decline in job ads. "Companies don't hire," notes Fahim Mashrum, CEO of Bdjobs.com, the country's largest online job agency. "In April and May, we published 80 per cent fewer ads.”

Like Jany, many of the jobless are forced to leave Dhaka and Chittagong and take refuge in their native villages, where life is cheaper. Rantu Corraya, a Catholic, is one of them.

Until the viral outbreak, he worked in the hotel industry in the capital, but recently he has move to the village of Gazipur to work as a farm worker. "Without wages since April I had no money to pay the rent and buy food,” he told AsiaNews.

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