New Delhi, April 1: Thousands of migrant workers left for their native places from different states after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak. While some managed to reach their home state, many got stuck as transport services are shut. All such migrant workers are now forced to stay at temporary shelters. As they are prone to various social, psychological and emotional trauma in such situations, the Ministry of Health and Family Affairs suggested a slew of measures. Coronavirus Live Map India.
"Immediate concerns faced by such migrant workers relate to food, shelter,
healthcare, fear of getting infected or spreading the infection, loss of wages, concerns about the family, anxiety and fear. Sometimes, they also face harassment and negative reactions of the local community. All this calls for strong social protection," said the Ministry of Health and Family Affairs. Coronavirus Death Toll in India Rises to 49 After COVID-19 Patient Dies in Meerut, Second Death in Uttar Pradesh.
"Migrant workers faced with the situation of spending a few days in temporary
shelters, which may be quarantine centres, while trying to reach to their native places, are filled with anxieties and fears stemming from various concerns, and are in need of psycho-social support," it added.
Following are the measures suggested by the ministry to help migrant workers.
- Treat everyone migrant worker with dignity, respect, empathy and compassion
- Listen to their concerns patiently and understand their problems
- Recognise specific and varied needs for each person/family. There is no generalisation.
- Help them to acknowledge that this is an unusual situation of uncertainty and reassure them that the situation is transient and not going to last long. Normal life is going to resume soon.
- Be prepared with all the information about possible sources of help. Inform them about the support being extended by Central Government, State Governments/ NGOs/ health care systems etc.
- Emphasise on the importance of their staying in their present location and how mass movement could greatly and adversely affect all efforts to contain the virus.
- Make them realise their importance in the community and appreciate their contributions for society.
- Remind them that they have made their place with their own efforts, acquired the trust of their employer, sent remittances to their families and therefore deserve all respect.
- Reassure that even if their employer fails them, local administration and charitable institutions would extend all possible help.
- Out of desperation, many may react in a manner which may appear insulting. Try to understand their issues and be patient.
- If somebody is afraid of getting affected, tell them that the condition is curable, and that most recover from it.
- Remind them that it is safer for their families if they themselves stay away from them.
- Instead of reflecting any mercy, seek their support in the spirit of winning over the situation together.
The ministry also said migrant workers must be provided with food and other essential items during their stay in temporary shelters. It also asked states to set up mechanisms to enable migrant workers to reach to the family members through telephone, video calls etc. and ensuring their physical safety.