Saturday, July 18, 2020

Covid-19 lockdown: Children eat wild plants to survive as hunger explodes

In Peddie in the Eastern Cape, children are eating wild plants to survive, as the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown take their toll. The number of households going hungry has doubled, according to new research.

Gift of the Givers project manager Ali Sablay told Groundup that when the organisation’s food truck arrived in Wesley, Peddie, last week, people started dancing and singing.
 Until then, only 25 food parcels had been handed out in the area since the beginning of the lockdown, Sablay said. He said some people in Peddie were eating wild plants to deal with their gnawing hunger pangs.
Job losses had spread hunger into new areas in cities, Sooliman said. Calls from people in need were coming from people employed in industries in distress, particularly the aviation, restaurant and hotel sectors.
Before the lockdown, three-quarters of households which received social grants relied on income sources other than grants, they said, which could explain why hunger had worsened though grants had not changed or had even increased. “Pandemic-induced job losses present a major threat to the livelihoods of a large proportion of grant receiving households precisely because earnings has been an important source of income for most grant-receiving households.”
 However, about 30% of those who had lost their jobs between February and April reported no household grant income at all.

One in three of those who earned an income in February did not earn an income in April, the researchers found, and job losses were concentrated among women and lower-paid workers.

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