Updated: April 21, 2020 06:27 AM GMT
Two young Catholic volunteers hand over food to a needy woman in Mumbai city, where a Covid-19 lockdown has left thousands of people jobless and hungry. (Photo supplied)
Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay has taken steps to check the spread of Covid-19 in the capital of Maharashtra, the worst-hit Indian state.A critical effort of his archdiocese based in capital Mumbai, formerly Bombay, is to house and feed thousands of migrant laborers who have become jobless since a lockdown was imposed on March 24.All 124 parishes in the archdiocese are providing food to needy people in their area. “Together roughly some 7,000 people are given food twice daily,” said archdiocesan spokesman Father Nigel Barrett on April 21. Cardinal Gracias and other Christian leaders wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 27 offering the Church’s readiness to provide its facilities in the fight against the pandemic.Three church institutions in Mumbai are now housing 200 migrant people who became stranded after all means of transport were stopped as part of the lockdown.“We are ready to accommodate more people because we have facilities,” Father Barrett said.Prime Minister Modi held a video conference with health workers, Cardinal Gracias, Caritas India leaders and Catholic Health Association of India officials.Cardinal Gracias also participated in another video conference on April 2 that the Prime Minister’s Office held to discuss the plight of migrant workers.Following that conference, the cardinal also discussed with Mumbai officials the "immediate problem" of assisting migrant workers, Father Barrett said.Cardinal Gracias has set up a crisis management team in the archdiocese “to analyze and daily respond to the changing scenario swiftly,” the priest said.
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