Opinion

Coronavirus and hunger, there is need to fight the duo

By Ngor Khot Garang

As the world battles against the global pandemic, we need to also prepare ourselves to face the wrath of hunger which is another threat to people’s lives. Millions of people have lost their jobs worldwide and I don’t know if the unemployment benefits will take them through. The future of the global economy now hangs in the balance and everything seemed lost.

The great international relationship have been shattered. Churches have been stopped. And learning institutions have been shut down. The mankind is facing extinction as hundreds perishes daily in remote and urban parts of the world. It make people to sometime wonder and they ask, “Is this virus true or hoax” but the continued deaths worldwide sends shocking waves every where and this make it clear that the virus is real and it is happening.

The whole world is in tears as humankind struggles against one of the greatest hit of its time. The western world is trying in its power to find solutions to this global threat but their attempts have always remained unsuccessful since the virus first appeared in Wuhan, China. The African countries have been greatly hit by the virus and this has worsened the conditions as hunger waits with its teeth to bite.

In retrospect, African have always had issues with themselves and those issues have not been resolved. Hunger always moves with any disaster, be it war or disease but the hunger that has killed so many African has always been from the recent wars.  When people fight, hunger also finds its fertile ground but African have not realize that.

There is a sense in which we should regret the opportunities we have lost and the time we should have used to develop ourselves and make our continent a peaceful place. Now the corona virus has caught us when a lot of work still needs to be done and much attention is going to be given to this virus.

 To make matters worse, majority of African are poor and all the measures we are using here to contain this virus have been what we copied and pasted from other countries like United States and Europe. To lock down simply means to remain indoors until the virus is defeated.

Lockdowns are luxuries only the rich can afford. How many people in South Sudan can buy food and store in the live on it until the lockdown is lifted and how people can work from home and receive their incentives from home? This cannot be possible. We need a solution that shades light on the fact that South Sudanese are not from the same social class and that our lives need to move on amidst this virus.

We are all human and we understands that these are the most testing times in our lives as human beings but we also need to survive and wait for God’s decisions for us. We need to work and do our small businesses to fight hunger as we also struggle to contain the global pandemic.  

I am not trying to disregard the government’s orders of shutting down businesses and working places but where will people survive? Most of the people here in South Sudan work only to survive and not to save. Where will they earn their living? The women who work from morning till night only to put food on the table, the children and persons with disabilities on the streets whose only source of living is begging from pedestrians? Which death is better? To die of hunger or corona virus?

I think nobody can afford these lockdowns simply because we are poor and a country with a lot of issues that needs to be resolved. The government’s order to close downs shops and ban international travels was good as it was a way to minimize the spread of the novel corona virus but the results of such measures outweigh the benefits by incomparable magnitude.

It is worth mentioning that from the first day the government would officially announce lockdowns, cases of robbery and killing and deaths from hunger would be heard even before the dusk. The poor will attack the houses believed to have some edibles and that would means using firearms or any possible means.

The number of street children or even street adult would soar because nobody will stay in the house without food or water to drink. It is well known that even before the outbreak of corona virus, for some families, getting a daily meal was one of their prayer requests and such people are still there almost majority of South Sudanese used to wonder where their next meal will come from.

And now with the threat imposed by the virus, these people have no hope of survival. They have tried praying to ask God for help but things are getting harder every day. The markets prices have risen twice or thrice higher than normal and majority of people have little or nothing to live on. The World Food Program is also expected drop in food supply in the near future if the virus continue to spread further.

This will make it even harder to think of a peaceful world where people will live to achieve their desired goals.  A lot of problems will arise due to the looming hunger and returning people back to love themselves after they have turned to hating would be a tact of war. People with nothing will hate those who have food in their houses and this will cause more violence and chaos worse or similar to Corona virus.

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