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The miserable life of India's "new crown orphans" attracts attention

 "After 5-year-old Platham and his 10-month-old brother Ayoshi lost their father in April, their mother also died in a hospital in New Delhi not long ago. The new crown epidemic made them orphans", BBC ( The BBC report described the Indian children who lost their parents in the epidemic. India’s Minister of Women’s and Children’s Development, Irani, stated that from April 1 to May 26 this year alone, various local states reported that 577 children were orphaned due to the epidemic. However, a source familiar with the situation believed in an interview with the "India Express" that this number may in fact be "greatly underestimated."


The BBC reported on May 31 that Elani said that "the figures reported in some places are far from what was disclosed in news reports." For example, Delhi only reported one orphan case, while a BBC report mentioned at least two cases. According to the "Global Times" reporter, there was a case of family cluster infection in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. A couple in this family and their parents died one after another within 12 days after the diagnosis. Today, only 6 and 8 year old girls are left in the family.

 

The Times of India quoted a government official as saying that these children were not abandoned because of the loss of their parents. The Child Welfare Committee will follow up on all the "new crown orphans" to ensure their health. Officials also stated that the government has decided to allocate 1 million rupees (1 rupees equal to 0.1 yuan) to each district for the care and care of orphans under the comprehensive child protection plan of the Ministry of Women and Child Development. In addition, Indian Prime Minister Modi also specifically promised in the monthly radio program "The Voice of the Prime Minister" on the 30th that he agreed to use the "Prime Minister's Special Fund" to provide free education and medical insurance for "New Crown Orphans".


The BBC reported that although every local state in India has a child protection and welfare committee at the local level to help these "new crown orphans" and give them a chance to be adopted by well-meaning people with conditions, the adoption rate in India is actually very low. Statistics show that from March 2019 to March 2020, only 3351 Indian orphans were adopted. In contrast, more than 66,000 orphans were adopted in the United States during the same period. Anugra Kundu, chairman of the Delhi Committee for the Protection of Children’s Rights, said that after the second wave of the epidemic in India, the number of “new crown orphans” may increase exponentially. He said, "I have never heard of so many deaths in a short period of time in my life, which will cause many children to lose their parents." He believes that if the government wants to alleviate this problem, it should focus on foster care rather than adoption in the short term.

 

Predi Velma, a member of the Child Welfare Committee of Uttar Pradesh, India, said that there are at least 1,000 "new crown orphans" in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India. She said, "Like other parts of the country, the actual figure may be higher than the official statistics." In order to ensure that every "new crown orphan" is taken care of by the government as much as possible, the committee has now asked the police, village-level medical staff and village committees to jointly carry out screening work.



At the same time, as the number of "new crown orphans" continues to increase, the crime of child trafficking has also aroused concerns from all parties. The BBC report stated that individual criminals shared information about the "sale of children" through social media. Kundu said that his team had seen a message on “Facebook” offering children “adoption”, “After contacting by phone, the other party actually asked for a fee of US$7,000, and we immediately called the police to deal with it.”


"Encouragement" is a non-governmental organization headquartered in Delhi. The organization’s chief executive Sonal Kapoor said that after one parent in the family dies, the other parent will often force their minor children to engage in heavy manual labor or other illegal activities in exchange for remuneration. There is even one case showing that after the mother died of new coronary pneumonia, the father began to sexually assault his daughter. Kapoor said that "coronavirus orphans" are not all of the problem. "The fate of children from single-parent families in the epidemic also deserves attention."

 

The UNICEF representative in India, Yasmin Haq, said: "Indian schools have been closed for more than a year. In many local states, online learning has also been suspended because teachers have been severely affected." She said that even under the best circumstances, less than 50% of the 300 million school-age children in India are eligible for online education. “So imagine if you tell a child, you can’t go out. , You can’t play with your friends, you have to stay in the room and you have to study on the computer. At the same time, poor families have lost their livelihoods, and some children have lost their parents or grandparents... What kind of trauma is this, and what might it have? Long-term consequences?"


According to the latest data released by the Indian health department on the 31st, in the past 24 hours, there were approximately 152,000 newly confirmed cases and 3,128 deaths in India. This is the lowest increase in the number of confirmed cases in a single day in the country since April 9. Although the second wave of the epidemic in India has stabilized, the local states still announced the extension of the blockade measures last weekend. 

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