‘Keep a distance of at least two meters between two people.”
‘Do not touch each other, do not hold hands.’
During the time of the Coronavirus crisis, you must have been listening to such instructions of ‘physical distancing’ and ‘social distancing’. But what if, there is a storm, flood, or an earthquake or any destructive incident like a gas leak, will these rules be followed? It becomes impossible to follow the rules of physical distancing during a natural disaster.
The International Federation of Red Cross and other agencies providing humanitarian aid say that people facing displacement due to bad weather and natural disasters are not able to follow the rules of physical distancing even during the Coronavirus transition.
“In such a difficult situation, people are forced to violate the Covid-19 protocol and guidelines,” he said.
The sources have spoken to some people living in areas affected by bad weather and natural disasters.
38-year-old Subrata Kumar Padhihari, who lives in Odisha, is worried. Indian officials are in a constant alert mode because of the danger of cyclone offenses predicted. Cyclone infestation has caused huge losses in many parts of West Bengal and Odisha.
Subrata’s village is about 40 km from the sea. The house in which he lives with his wife, three daughters, and mother has been badly shaken because of the Cyclone Phani that came last year. Now they are afraid that their house may be razed due to the inflection.
The International Federation of Red Cross Emergency Coordinator Marshall Macavaré in East Africa told media that people displaced and affected by natural disasters are unable to maintain ‘physical distancing’.
Even if their house survives, they are afraid that the authorities will ask them to leave their village and go to a safe place. Subrata is terrified that the situation may get worse this time.
He said, “I am afraid that we will be taken to nearby schools. These are the same schools that have been converted into quarantine shelters because of Covid-19. There are not many shelters in our village. That means that we may have to live with those who are already coronavirus infected. “
Siddharth Srinivas, head of food and climate policy at Oxfam Asia, told the sources, “West Bengal is already grappling with cases of Covid-19 infection. In such a situation worries about preparations to avoid cyclones. The past is further heightened. In the state governments used to take people to schools and public buildings at the time of the disaster, but now it will not be appropriate due to Covid-19 infection. “
Also, witnessing earthquakes in March, April, has unfolded the fears of public as they came out to protect themselves. A sense of helplessness remains at the hearts of people whether they could confront the problematic situations or not providing the present facilities. Authorities remain questioned on the ground of functioning in the public welfare. what if it gets worse, wouldn’t the disease spread quickly then?
The plight of public remains on stake as the toxic disaster like gas leak took place in Vishakapattnam, Andra Pradesh on 7th May 2020. Many citizens died because they fell unconscious due to the spread of chemical gas. The brutal scene of people falling from their buildings to save their lives makes one to question authorities as these industrial units were allowed to function. In such critical situation, would the government be able to take any effective action for public well-being?
There was a recent severe flood in the Kasiz district of western Uganda. Hundreds of people have been displaced here due to floods. 23-year-old Jasoline is pregnant. She has to live in a shelter built in a school with her two children these days.
They are more likely to get infected with Covid-19 due to pregnancy. There are about 200 more people in the shelter where they are.
Jasoline says, “We are surrounded by threats. Due to the lack of space, I cannot stay away from people. Right now we are living with three more families. I am afraid that I might get infected. There is a concern\ for the children and the unborn child. “
On the night of May 7, Jasoline was sleeping near her two children when she heard the screams of the people of the village.
She says, “I realize now that people were telling me to run away after saving my life. The whole village was hit by floods. I took my children and ran away. I have no time to take any other stuff was. “
Jasoline bought some clothes for her future child.
She says, “I couldn’t even save those clothes. The flood took away everything. Everything we had was gone.”
Jasoline’s husband works in another district and has not been able to visit her due to restrictions related to coronavirus infection. She says, “I don’t have any other place. I don’t know what to do next.”
Relief workers from Red Cross say that thousands of flood-affected people are currently taking shelter in churches and schools. There is a shortage of water, soap, and sanitation at these places.
Hundreds of people have died and millions of people have been displaced due to the floods.
According to Johns Hopkins University data, more than 82,000 infection cases have been confirmed in Africa so far and 2,700 people have died.
The most affected countries with Covid-19 in East Africa – Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania. So far 55 people have died in Somalia, 50 in Kenya, and 21 in Tanzania.