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Amid Covid-19 Hunger Fear Mounts in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Bangladesh, Apr 29 2020 (IPS) - The world is at risk of widespread famines resulting from lockdowns to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The devastating economic impact of Covid-19 is seeing a huge rise in the number of hungry people.

Hamida Begum, a domestic worker in Bangladesh who is now out of work, said: “We only have forty Taka at home (approximately US 50 cents). We have to drink poison to end life if we cannot go out for work. Who will save us from hunger?” The suffering of some 7 million slum dwellers around Dhaka, the capital city, is multiplying due to lost earnings and price hikes of consumer goods.

Most slum dwellers, living in different parts of the capital city, no longer worry about the virus but worry about hunger as they cannot go out to work. They do not have food reserves. Whatever little they have cannot save them from starvation and famine in the coming days.

Hamida Begum, 37, works as a house maid. She and her husband, a daily labourer are now jobless. The little food they have won’t feed their five member family. Credit: Mohammad Rakibul Hasan

Kulsum Begum, 30, is struggling to feed her three children since her husband died last year. After the lock down she lost her job as a housemaid . She Does not have any relatives in the city that she can turn to for to survive. Credit: Mohammad Rakibul Hasan

Shipli Rani Shiuli, 35, is the sole breadwinner of the family. Her husband left her and she takes care of her two sons alone. After the lockdown she lost her job and does not know how she will bring food to the table. Credit: Mohammad Rakibul Hasan

Textile worker Helena Begum was laid off last month. She, along her five year old daughter Shakiba and elderly mother, are living on half the amount of food they normally had before the lockdown. Helena who is 35 says that her husband left the family after she gave birth to a daughter. She does not know anyone who could help her to seek a loan. Credit: Mohammad Rakibul Hasan

Aklima, 35, is standing with her one and half year-old daughter Suborna in their one room slum house. She has sent off her three children to the village as they are unable to manage food for themselves in Dhaka city. Aklima says that she and her her rickshaw puller husband can only manage one meal a day and drink water to kill hunger pangs. Credit: Mohammad Rakibul Hasan

Kohinoor Begum and her security guard husband Abul Kashem are now staying at home due to the lockdown. Kohinoor lost her job as a housemaid. The only house they had in their village has been swallowed up by the river. During their three years stay in Dhaka city, they never faced such poverty and hardship before the lockdown. With no food at home and no cash, their five family members fear starvation in coming days. Credit: Mohammad Rakibul Hasan

Khadiza Begum, 38, with her two year daughter Sumaiya. She and her husband sold pickles on Dhaka streets. After the lockdown, they paid 4000 Taka (approximately $ 50 ) as rent and now have no money to buy food. Credit: Mohammad Rakibul Hasan

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