Impoverished rural areas in Wuhan left isolated during lockdown
By Jesús Centeno
Wuhan, China, Apr 14 (efe-epa).- The coronavirus outbreak that battered Wuhan also had a huge impact on its rural surroundings where older generations have lost their children to large cities and staying connected is impossible.
In Huangpi, a rural district on the outskirts of Wuhan, some one million people live and 2,114 were infected with Covid-19 during the outbreak, according to local authorities who have refused to reveal the number of recorded deaths.
“I can’t give you that information,” a local official tells Efe before hanging up.
Resources are limited and devastation is abundant, Wang, a farmer, tells Efe.
He has just begun to plough his dry land to plant crops soon.
“There are no viruses now in our town. Prevention measures have worked, and it is a relief to be able to get out, because at the beginning they left us completely blocked,” the man adds.
Most of the villagers had to deal with an intense sense of loneliness during the lockdown.
Many are elderly and live off what their children, who have fled to the big cities, send them from time to time.
They struggle as builders or delivery people in districts where there are profitable businesses.
The problem now is that large construction sites have not resumed activities yet.
“There are only a few small things. Luckily, we work with an agricultural company that has mechanized the farms and pays us to use our land,” says Wang.
“Don’t leave the district, don’t leave the city,” can be read on huge red propaganda banners that are still draped on either side of the road, despite restrictions in Wuhan were lifted on 8 April.
At the entrance to Luojiawan village, one of its residents Zhao proudly displays a portrait of the founder of the Chinese communist regime Mao Zedong and reminisces on what he thinks were better times.
“Today, agriculture does not give money, it is not profitable,” he says sadly.
“But in the city, you can earn up to 200 yuan ($28) each day,” the man, who lives with his wife and several granddaughters, adds.
Another resident tells Efe that the district borders Huanggang City, one of the worst affected in Hubei province after the capital Wuhan.
“We had been home for three months and we were a little anxious. But I am already more cheerful. And if I were to get sick, I would have free treatment. We can eat, drink, and we have not contracted it (the virus),” says Qin of the almost three months of confinement.
Luckily Quin had stocked up on plenty of food to celebrate Chinese New Year with her family, a feast that never took place as the authorities closed Wuhan a day before the holiday.
“If the quarantine had not been imposed, we would all have gone to hell,” says the woman.