Families who lost only breadwinners to Covid-19 stare at uncertain future

New Delhi, June 7 (EFE).- The devastating second wave of Covid-19 has snatched away the only breadwinners of various families in India, orphaning thousands of children who now stare at an uncertain future.

Sonia, a woman in her 40s from a village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, is left as the sole guardian of her four children after losing her husband Ravi Kumar to the virus on May 13.

She said she was looking for work because the responsibility of running the household had fallen on her after the death of the only earning member in the family.

“I cannot throw my kids into an uncertain future. He had always dreamed of giving our kids a good education,” Sonia told EFE.

She said her husband died due to the lack of oxygen in a hospital where she had to wait for hours for a bed while he “choked to death.”

“They (the hospital) did not take him in until he was literally gasping for a breath,” Sonia broke down into tears, recalling the “struggle of my dying husband.”

“Now we are left to fend for ourselves. We have lost our world. He always stood behind us like a rock. We have lost our support system.”

According to an Indian government agency for protecting child rights, more than 30,000 children have been affected during the pandemic since last year.

Nearly 40 percent of these children are in the age group of 8 to 13 years, and 30 percent are between 14 and 18, requiring urgent care.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) told the top court last week that over 3,621 children lost both parents while a significantly higher number of more than 26,000 lost one of their parents.

Nearly 275 kids were left abandoned since the pandemic began last year.

NCPCR, however, said the reason for the death of parents need not be only Covid-19 as the causes were still being ascertained.

The agency noted that the numbers could be more as many cases were unreported.

“The commission presented the number of children who have lost either their mother or father or both parents from April 1, 2020 to June 5, 2021, based upon the information uploaded on (its) portal up to June 5, 2021,” the agency said.

Several Indian states have announced initiatives for assistance and care for children who have lost one or both parents to the pandemic.

The federal government has also said it would take measures to support children impacted by the pandemic.

“Children represent the future of the country and the country will do everything possible to support and protect the children,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on May 29 after a meeting to discuss steps for support of the kids who have lost their parents due to Covid-19.

Roma, in her early 50s, also lost her husband Sri Kant Sharma to the virus last month.

The mother of three is looking for a job to support “our devastated family.”

“He was the only earning member of the family,” Roma told EFE in Yusufpur Chak Saberi village of Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri district, some 60 km (nearly 38 miles) from the national capital of New Delhi.

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