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World 'Eating rats': Myanmar's second lockdown drives hunger in city slums

14:15  23 october  2020
14:15  23 october  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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“People are eating rats and snakes,” Ma Suu said through tears. “Without an income, they need to eat like that to feed their children.” With more than 40,000 cases and 1,000 deaths, Myanmar is facing one of Southeast Asia’ s worst coronavirus outbreaks, and the lockdown in Yangon has left hundreds

Due to the lockdown , they have lost their livelihoods. Due to the lockdown , they have lost their livelihoods. They have no access to PDS and are under acute mental stress to feed their children. Life In SLUM OF SAIGON - AMAZING Experience In Ho Chi Minh City , Vietnam 🇻🇳

By Shoon Naing

a group of people sitting on the ground: Man prepares trap to catch rats for food during a coronavirus lockdown in Yangon © Reuters/SHWE PAW MYA TIN Man prepares trap to catch rats for food during a coronavirus lockdown in Yangon

YANGON (Reuters) - After the first wave of coronavirus hit Myanmar in March, 36-year-old Ma Suu closed her salad stall and pawned her jewelry and gold to buy food to eat.

During the second wave, when the government issued a stay-home order in September for Yangon, Ma Suu shut her stall again and sold her clothes, plates and pots.

With nothing left to sell, her husband, an out of work construction labourer, has resorted to hunting for food in the open drains by the slum where they live on the outskirts of Myanmar's largest city.

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Suddenly hungry rats are venturing forth during the day in large numbers. In Seattle, rats have been seen wrestling in public parks in the afternoon. Different rats occupy different ecological niches in the city . Park rats are likely to be particularly hard hit, as trash bins sit empty and picnics cease.

Eating in Africa’ s Biggest Floating Slum !! Fruit salad by goutham kumar for police department and the underprivilidged during corona lockdown .

The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Yangon © Reuters/SHWE PAW MYA TIN The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Yangon

“People are eating rats and snakes,” Ma Suu said through tears. “Without an income, they need to eat like that to feed their children.”

They live in Hlaing Thar Yar, one of Yangon's poorest neighborhoods, where residents shine flashlights in the undergrowth behind their homes, looking for some night creature to stave off their hunger.

While rats, reptiles and insects are often eaten by families in rural areas, people in some urban areas are now being reduced to getting nutrition however they can.

With more than 40,000 cases and 1,000 deaths, Myanmar is facing one of Southeast Asia’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, and the lockdown in Yangon has left hundreds of thousands of people, like Ma Suu, without work and precious little support.

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Chaotic scenes as migrant workers try to leave major cities in India. At least one person in a Mumbai slum has already tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Consequently, workers are faced with an agonizing dilemma: go out to work and risk infection, or stay home and face extreme hunger .

Local administrator Nay Min Tun said in his part of Hlaing Thar Yar 40% of households had received aid but many workplaces were shut and people had become more desperate.

Man cooks dinner in Yangon shanty during coronavirus lockdown © Reuters/SHWE PAW MYA TIN Man cooks dinner in Yangon shanty during coronavirus lockdown

Myat Min Thu, the ruling party lawmaker for the area, said government aid and private donations was being distributed but acknowledged not everyone could be covered.

The crisis has cast a shadow over a general election planned for Nov. 8, though Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is still expected to win by a comfortable margin.

NOTHING BUT THE MARKET

Even before the pandemic, a third of Myanmar’s 53 million people were considered "highly vulnerable" to falling into poverty, despite recent gains following the country’s emergence from decades of ruinous isolation under the military junta.

The financial squeeze now threatens to plunge many back into poverty or squash their chances of getting out.

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The men were unwashed and said they had not eaten in three days, since the government shelter they lived in was burned down . The incidents have shone a spotlight the plight of millions of poor Indians who migrate from villages to cities in search of livelihood - and how the lockdown has left them

Coronavirus lockdowns have caused many more to go hungry .Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times. NAIROBI, Kenya — In the largest slum in Kenya’ s capital, people desperate to eat set off a stampede during a recent giveaway of flour and cooking oil, leaving scores injured and two people

Poverty in the developing East Asia and Pacific region is set to rise for the first time in 20 years due to COVID-19, the World Bank said in September, with about 38 million expected to remain in or be pushed back into poverty.

Myanmar’s government has offered poor households a one-off food package and three cash grants of $15 each as part of its relief plan, but families say it falls far short.

A survey by ONow Myanmar of more than 2,000 people across the country in April found 70% had stopped working and a quarter had taken out loans for food, medicine, and other essentials.

a group of people sitting at night: Men prepare to fish in Yangon slum during coronavirus lockdown © Reuters/SHWE PAW MYA TIN Men prepare to fish in Yangon slum during coronavirus lockdown

Sectors driving industralisation in Myanmar - including garment work and tourism – have come to a halt while remittances have dried up, said Gerard Mccarthy, a postdoctoral fellow at the Asia Research Institute in Singapore.

"Households already in dire debt from paying for medical treatment, schooling, sustaining the elderly and everyday survival...many will need to pay off these loans before they can begin spending on anything discretionary,” he said.

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Rising numbers of desperate people are eating dogs, with prisoners eating rats . Large numbers of people are abandoning their pet dogs in cities of the country because they are unable to feed 'There are lurid tales of prison inmates foraging for dead rats , pumas and lions wasting away in Venezuelan

Since the lockdown was imposed on 24 March, millions of Indians, especially migrant workers have been struggling to access food, as jobs have evaporated. In the effort to flatten the pandemic’ s spike, the lockdown has left tens of millions of migrant workers unemployed.

a man standing in front of a building: Man has haircut in Yangon slum during coronavirus lockdown © Reuters/SHWE PAW MYA TIN Man has haircut in Yangon slum during coronavirus lockdown

Thant Myint-U, a Myanmar historian, rued the absence of a proper social safety net and the collapse of villages' traditional welfare systems.

“For tens of millions of Myanmar’s poor, there is nothing other than the market, which in the good times provides opportunities for informal work in the cities or migration abroad but during a downturn is leaving the poorest with little more than the shirt on their backs,” he said.

(Reporting by Shoon Naing. Additional reporting and editing by Poppy McPherson & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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England could enter a second national lockdown in the coming days, as surging coronavirus infections across Europe trigger strict new rules and violent protests. © Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images A medical worker wearing a protective equipment tends to a patient at the intensive care unit for patients infected with Covid-19 at The University Hospital Centre in Liege, Belgium on October 22.

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