NEW DELHI: In retrospect, the first lockdown caused much less of a struggle than the present for Sanno and her family. Sanno and her husband, who are among the city's homeless population, unable to manage two square meals a day amid the present lockdown.
They stay on the pavements near the Jama Masjid in Delhi. As the national capital prepares to unlock gradually, they are uncertain about what lies ahead. "There has been no help from the government. We have received no rations. During the first lockdown, the government had arranged for cooked meals. This time, we have been left to fend for ourselves. There is no help from any quarter this time... We do not know how we will sustain ourselves through this phase," said Sanno who used to earn a living by selling waste materials gathered from streets before the lockdown.
Her husband is a rickshaw puller. His income too has stopped amid the lockdown.
The scars of the first lockdown are still fresh for Soni and her husband. "We lost a child right after the lockdown. The doctor kept telling us to provide nutritious food to the child. But we could not afford it. I lost my child. Now we have no idea how to provide for our five kids," said Soni.
Ashok Pandey from the advocacy group Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) said the capital’s homeless population was left vulnerable after the first wave. "They had already suffered massively after the first wave and the subsequent lockdown.
They do not have any savings now unlike before the first lockdown. Data shows there are over 17 lakh homeless people in India.Delhi alone there are 1,50,000-2,00,000 homeless people, according to HLRN.
"During the second wave of the pandemic, people outside the shelter homes have been left without any social security net. No help is reaching them," an activist said.