However, NGOs across the city have been working hand-inhand with the Corporation and good Samaritans to ensure that nobody gets left behind. No Food Waste has been working with the Chennai Corporation to distribute excess food from the now-operational kitchens and restaurants to those in shelter homes and community halls across the city.
“We are also identifing homeless people and are in touch with the Corporation to rescue them. As we have a good idea of where the homeless mostly gather, we have volunteers delivering food to them.
The volunteers are those who have signed up with the Chennai Corporation. We have a team of 10 to 15 volunteers because we don’t want too many people in one place,” said Arun Kumar, Chennai director of the NGO. The NGO, Safa India, is providing provision packages with items such as rice, wheat flour, soap, detergent and medicines to daily wage labourers across the city.
The distributions will be held in Kolathur, Red Hills, Chetpet, Anna Nagar, Kosupet, and Adyar, as well as other areas in North Chennai.
A fundraiser has also been initiated by Milaap and Pharm Foundation for the economically-backwards, as well as for marginalised and vulnerable communities.
They hope to collect Rs 6,500 daily to provide provision packages with items like milk powder, oil, rice, vegetables and sanitary items to vulnerable groups in Perumbakkam.
“That area has a lot of housing board residents and slum areas. We will be going there in teams of two and distributing the items at their home. Many there have also said that they do not have good cell service, so we cannot hope to ask them to come pick it up,” said Nila M, founder and director of Pharm.
However, the NGOs report that some volunteers are hesitant to step out due to fear of infection. While all of the work is optional, they call for community effort to help the city. “The government is doing the best to their ability, but they are also under a lot of strain. This is where we come in as citizens. It must be a give and take situation, and we should help people as much as possible during this time. We managed during the floods, I’m sure we can manage this as well,” said Nila.