Corona Lockdown: Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in America, the world’s most powerful country. So far more than 91000 people have died due to this virus. But because of this crisis, a crisis related to the availability of food items has arisen in America.
The lives of many people have been affected by the shutdown of business activities to stop the spread of the virus. Tehmina Haq is also among such people whose lives have been severely affected by this.
Tehmina lives with her two children in a rented house in New York, USA. On May 3, his 70-year-old father died of Coronavirus, which used to work as a driver of a limousine vehicle.
Corona Lockdown: Why are Americans struggling with food shortages?
Shame and grief
“He was a heart patient. He was suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure. He was also low in immunity. Doctors said the virus caused damage to his lungs,” says Tehmina.
The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a charity organization, arranged the funeral for Tehmina’s father.
Now Tehmina is also dependent on donations for food and drink. Tehmina spoke to me on the virtual meeting app Zoom. But during this virtual meeting, Tehmina was not looking into my eyes.
She says, “Four-five months ago, I was earning money by cooking and cleaning in the homes of others. But due to a bone infection, I had to stop my work. Thank God some people helped me That. The doctors have forbidden me from going out because I am more at risk of this virus. But gathering food is a big problem. “
It was not difficult to realize that Tehmina was not comfortable telling her struggles related to food and drink. It was not an easy task. She believes that Allah will make everything right.
Rizwan Rizvi of charity Muslim Housing Service told me, “South Asians are ashamed to show their lack of food and drink. They are upset about what they saw in society after telling them all this Will. In such a situation, they do not let anyone know about it. “
China has not been able to pay her monthly rent of 1375 US Dollars for the last five months. On this, his landlord has started legal proceedings against him.
“I don’t know where I will go with my children after August 20,” says Tehmina. Because under the government order, the people living in the rented house cannot be evicted from their apartments till August 20, because of not paying the rent.
More than 35 million people have lost their jobs in the last eight to nine weeks. The actual number of people losing jobs is even more. A report in the year 2018 states that about 3.72 crore people, including 1.12 crore children, live in homes with food and drink problems.
The problem of drinking food in America refers to the situation when there is not enough availability of food and drink to live a healthy life.
According to Feeding America, an organization involved in diagnosing this problem in the US, due to the coronavirus crisis, the figure of 3.72 crores can reach 5.4 crores.
This may include 1.8 crore children.
This estimate states, “After this epidemic, one in four children in the United States may face an eating crisis.”
About ten thousand people were seen in Texas, waiting for food items.
Miles of cars were seen in front of a food bank in southern Florida.
Experts say that the scheme, called the Food Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Snape), also run by the federal government, is proving to be inadequate.
What is the American government doing?
The purpose of the snap scheme is to help people and families coming from the lower class. Under this, food stamps are given which people can use to buy food.
On the other hand, in contrast, pictures are coming up in Wisconsin, where farmers are shedding many gallons of milk due to the closure of food processing units and low demand.
Similar pictures are coming from Florida, where tractors are seen crushing green beans. Or farmers in California are letting the crop rot.
At the same time, there is news from Minnesota that ten thousand pigs are being killed every day. Along with this, millions of chickens are being killed because food processing units are closed.
Caitlin Welsh, director of the Global Food Security Program at the Thick Tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, says Americans are shocked and embarrassed that they are allowing food to rot and are facing food shortages.
She says, “We have food and vegetables as per our requirement. We have animals for non-vegetarians. These are more supply chain problems.”
To help farmers, the government has started a $ 19 billion Corona Virus Food Assistance Program to take fresh food and food from them to the food banks.
Despite the government’s help, people are facing problems.
The problem of illegal residents
“We went to a woman’s house and gave her a box of food. It also had meat,” says Abdul Rauf Khan, of Pakistani origin, who is associated with the ICNA charity group.
It was the home of an Indian-origin man who had lost his job. Not after this, says, “A baby girl came and went inside chirping. I asked her mother if I had done anything wrong?
To this, the woman said that this is the third month when they have not eaten meat. Their child is happy Was swinging from
“This family was struggling with problems, but they never came forward to help us.”
Khan says that this charity organization has given food to more than 25 lakh people in the last two months. For a person who is not registered in the American system, the situation is terrible for him because he does not get any help from the government.
One such 60-year-old woman from New York, Fatima (name changed) says, “Nobody helps in America. People listen to my story and talk.” Fatima (name changed) stays alone. She came from Gujranwala, Pakistan to work in a family home in the United States. She has been living in America for the last 25 years.
“Iftar is held in mosques on normal days where anyone can eat food. But Iftar is not being held due to the closure of mosques,” says Khan.
In such a situation, food cans are being given to needy people. These compartments contain dates, flour, sugar, salt, cooking oil, bean, rice, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables which do not deteriorate for long and do not need to be kept in the fridge.
Khan says, “We are making sure that the food we are giving does not go bad for a family of five for two weeks.” The demand for food in charity organizations and food banks has increased considerably.
Increasing economic burden
“There is a 500 per cent increase in people taking emergency food services at our food bank,” says Brian Gullish of Great Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, which serves 11 areas in southwestern Pennsylvania.
According to Feeding America’s website, two hundred food banks are operating in the United States, which fill the food shortage 4.3 billion times per year.
Brian says, “On standard days in March and April we used to spend $ 500- $ 600 thousand in buying food items, but this time in March and April we have spent the US $ 1.7 million.
“This means that we have spent more than the US $ 1.1 million in the last two months. It gives you a hint about the expenditure for the whole year. We can spend ten to fifteen million dollars on buying food this time.”. “
Similarly, Feeding South Florida states that their demand has increased by 600%. Experts say that the federal government’s financial package of 2.3 trillion will help people as people have started reaching out.
Rauf Khan says, “Many people have not received paychecks yet. In the online system, it is showing pending”. There are still many challenges before helping organizations.
Brian says, “So far we have a good inventory. But we have started seeing some changes in the supply chain. Our orders have been cancelled.” At the same time, Khan says, “The challenge is that people of our Muslim community have also been affected by this crisis.”
Now that work has started in most places in America, the situation will be expected to be okay. But Caitlin Walsh says, “My concern is with nutritional deficiency. At such times people start cutting down on nutritious food.”
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