Woman and her baby being visited by an Action Against Hunger community mobiliser in India

A second wave of Covid-19 surges through India

As the country grapples with the coronavirus crisis, Action Against Hunger teams are providing urgent support to vulnerable communities.

A second wave of coronavirus is having a devastating impact on India. The country has now recorded almost thirty million cases of the infection and its health system is struggling to cope as daily cases rise. Hospitals face extreme shortages of beds, oxygen supplies, life support equipment and medicine.

The current situation will put an enormous strain on nutrition services that treat children for life-threatening hunger. If malnutrition rises, vulnerable groups, including pregnant and new mothers and children under the age of five, will be most at risk.

Action Against Hunger’s community mobilisers offer support and counselling to families affected by the pandemic, including the provision of food baskets and raising Covid-19 awareness. They also offer guidance to mothers on good nutrition and proper breastfeeding practices. 

Meet communities in Mumbai, India’s largest city, as they tell us how the pandemic has changed their lives.

Mothers living through a pandemic

The pandemic and lockdown restrictions have made life tough for pregnant or new mothers in Mumbai. Many have experienced feelings of anxiety and depression while caring for a young baby.

Asma

25-year-old Asma Sayyed with her youngest baby in India

25-year-old Asma’s third pregnancy has had a huge impact on her health. While she recovers from her pregnancy, her family has also struggled to make ends meet during the lockdown restrictions.

“It was only due to the constant support from the Action Against Hunger community mobilisers that I was able to learn how I should deal with my post-pregnancy issues and what I should eat to stay healthy.”

Asma

Ashwini
Ashwini Salvi with her young child in India

32-year-old mum Ashwini had a tough pregnancy. She was extremely anxious and had further health complications like excessive swelling of her legs. After giving birth, Ashwini felt constantly paranoid – a feeling brought on from living through a pandemic.

“I remember calling the community mobiliser at night once when I had developed a slight fever and cold. I was worried I would infect my baby as I was breastfeeding.”

Ashwini

Gudiya

Gudiya Jaiswal with her children in India

When 26-year-old Gudiya tested positive for Covid-19 she had to quarantine alone away from her family. As a breastfeeding mum, Gudiya was anxious about how to feed her youngest son Samar.

To support women like Gudiya, our community mobilisers regularly stay in touch with mothers over the phone and guide them during difficult periods. Last year we reached out to over 40,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women offering support with feeding and on how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. We also supported families through phone calls offering psychological support.

Lockdown restrictions

Life for communities in Mumbai dealing with the pandemic is tough. While lockdowns are necessary to control the virus, many families are losing access to work and barely have enough money to afford food.

Anjum

Anjum Nisar Khan with her children receiving support from Action Against Hunger community mobilisers

26-year-old Anjum Nisar Khan is a mother of four kids and has a fifth child on the way. Action Against Hunger’s Community mobilisers Kavita and Janhvi are providing her with emergency food and helping her with medical treatment.

“Life has been difficult for us since the pandemic hit the country. With my husband’s job uncertainty and several mouths to feed, survival becomes a task.”

Anjum

Sayyed

Sayyed Mehnaz Irfan Alam with her child in India

28-year-old Sayyed, a mother of two kids, was worried that her youngest child was starting to lose weight. Our team then diagnosed her son with moderate malnutrition.

“The pandemic and strict lockdown restrictions have dealt a heavy blow – not only on our children’s physical health but on their mental health too.”

Sayyed

Azaad

Azaad Shaikh India

Azaad had to send his wife Nazma and their two children to stay with her parents in Punjab. It had become extremely difficult for them to survive in the city, especially with the newly imposed lockdown.

“For now, I’m living off meagre savings. On bad days, we manage to get the ration kits like the food basket Action Against Hunger provides us.”

Azaad

Action Against Hunger’s response to the pandemic in India

Action Against Hunger is providing support to affected families, local authorities and the public healthcare system.

So far we’ve provided:

  • over 210 tons of emergency food to families in need
  • over 10,000 PPE kits to health centres
  • nearly 250,000 masks, gloves and sanitizers to frontline medical workers

We’re also providing counselling and mental health support to families affected by the lockdown. We also continue to work in communities to raise awareness on stopping the spread of the virus, vaccinations and social distancing.

DEC Coronavirus AppealA family member looks on at funeral pyres of victims of coronavirus in India.

DEC Coronavirus Appeal

Millions of lives are at risk as the latest deadly wave of coronavirus sweeps across India.

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