By Janet Phelan
A number of developing countries which have initiated “Stay at Home” orders are now experiencing hunger and starvation deaths, as well as murders by over-zealous police.
Reports that the lockdowns in India and elsewhere have resulted in almost as many deaths as has the coronavirus are now emerging. A recent opinion piece in The Print discussed non-virus deaths in India which were a result of the loss of employment and loss of income, detailing these deaths as by starvation, suicide and assaults by security forces.
The article states that “As India extends the lockdown in a modified form for another two weeks, here’s another statistic we need to think about: at least 195 people have died of the lockdown.” A number of examples are given of people dying due to the lockdown rather than the virus:
Enforced by the trigger-happy police officers through lathis, this lockdown has been so cruel it wouldn’t even let ambulances pass in some places, such as in Mangalaru, where two people died as a result.
A reported assault by police on an ambulance driver resulted in another death.
In Maharashtra, the police assaulted an ambulance driver for allegedly ferrying passengers rather than patients. The officers took a bribe and let the ambulance go to the hospital so that the driver could be treated for assault injuries. The driver died anyway.
India is not alone in experiencing starvation and security-related deaths. Ugandans are reported as also now facing the spectre of starvation as a result of attempts to curb the spread of the virus.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal also revealed that security forces in Uganda had killed people for defying the lockdown. The Irish Times also reported police beating civilians in Uganda, as part of their enforcement capacity vis a vis the virus.
Police violence against civilians is also reported in Kenya, where the police recently beat to death a thirteen-year-old boy as part of their “crackdown” on the coronavirus.
The situation in Latin America is not much brighter. The economies in many Latin American countries depend upon casual labor, and casual laborers generally don’t have savings accounts. This makes compliance with social distancing and stay-at-home orders a recipe for starvation. As reported here, a vegetable vendor in Haiti succinctly stated that “I am not going to spend money fighting corona. God is going to protect me.”
So far, the First World has been spared the spectre of starving neighbors and food riots. America has a considerable infrastructure to assist its needy, although there are now reports of food banks being stressed to their limits, as millions apply for unemployment benefits and other financial assistance. With the Third World going hungry and unable to respond vigorously to security-related attacks, one might want to revise the official perception that the elderly are the primary victims of Covid-19. It appears to be equally ravaging the poorer nations.
Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist and author of the groundbreaking exposé, EXILE. Her articles previously appeared in such mainstream venues as the Los Angeles Times, Orange Coast Magazine, Long Beach Press Telegram, etc. In 2004, Janet “jumped ship” and now exclusively writes for independent media. She is also the author of two collections of poetry—The Hitler Poems and Held Captive. She resides abroad. You are invited to support her work on Buy Me A Coffee here: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/JanetPhelan
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