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April 6, 2020

Coronavirus lockdown: Shelter home in capital becomes ultimate destination for migrant daily wagers

National

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APP
April 6, 2020

Islamabad: Panahgah–the shelter home – has become the ultimate destination for affected people who have no work due to economic slowdown in the wake of lockdown.

The federal capital, which hosts lot of migrant daily-wagers and labourers, currently has no 'economic activity mainly due to the virtual lockdown enforced to contain spread of the coronavirus.

Ultimately, people with meagre resources, turn up at specific places - the shelter-homes - to have food three times a day. Talking to this agency, a daily wage-earner from Sindh at Tarlai shelter home, Nadeem Ikhlaq said some migrant workers opted to stay in the city with the hope of normalcy in few days, following the announcement of lock-down across the country.

He said: “I preferred to stay in Islamabad when I heard that the Sindh government had announced lockdown. I previously had some work here but now there is no work in the city.” Narrating the ordeal, Nadeem said he had not earned a single penny during the last week and needed an accommodation due to closure of private hostels in the city. “In the meantime, one of my friend told me about Panahgah and here I am getting three time meal and shelter for the last couple of days,” he added.

He termed the shelter homes a good initiative of the government and said these have been providing great support to the people who had been most affected in the post-coronavirus situation. Narrating tough conditions of workers, he said these people were most affected due to uncertainty caused by the coronavirus restrictions. They were on the streets to get some support by residents, he added.

“Panahgahs are still the most sought after shelter for homeless daily migrant daily wage earner, amid the coronavirus pandemic,” said the Prime Minister’s Focal Person Naseem ur Rehman who was on visit to Tarlai shelter home to supervise the efforts of its management in the current scenario.

“We have a dire situation right now as they are the most vulnerable and high risk group due to their specific health conditions,” he remarked. “However, steps were being taken to ensure uninterrupted supply of food, soap, hand sanitizers, masks and other essential items at the shelter homes,” he said.

He said local donors and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had been engaged to help the under-privileged people in this hour of distress. He said recently, a private organization had gifted radios for the G-9 shelter home dwellers to aware them to the situation arising due to the coronavirus.

Besides, it would help them adopt precautionary measures against the deadly virus. To a query, Naseem said the volunteers were also being engaged to sensitize such segment of the society that was vulnerable to contract the COVID due to their minimal access to electronic, print and digital media.

The district administration and other stakeholders were also taking preventive steps at the shelter homes like disinfection of the facilities and distribution of masks and sanitizers among the beneficiaries. Recently, a sanitizer walk through gate had been installed at Tarlai Panahgah, he added.