CSOs share experience during first wave of Covid-19 in Nagaland
Dimapur, Sep. 11 (EMN): Oriental Theological Seminary (OTS) organised a session of listening, learning and reflection on the topic ‘The experience of Covid-19 (First Wave 2020) in Nagaland: A time of sharing among the care-givers’ at AIDA, Don Bosco Dimapur on Saturday.
While sharing their experience during the first wave of the pandemic, Working President of Muslim Council Dimapur, Ahidur Rahman said that the Muslim Council Dimapur had faced lots of challenges during the pandemic. Muslims had migrated to Nagaland from different states which made the council even more difficult to co-ordinate.
While organisations were coming forward to set up quarantine centres for the returnees, even the Muslim Council of Dimapur were planning to set a centre at Madrassa but unfortunately at the time, Tablighi Jamaat at Delhi incident happened which resulted in stigma towards their community.
Therefore Muslim Council Dimapur decided to cancel the plan and there was even a restriction of entry of Muslims in Dimapur for three months. However, the MCD co-ordinated with the authority to identify three returnees from Jamaat to Dimapur and once the situation was cleared, the Muslim community was allowed to enter Dimapur and stay at paid quarantine centres, Rahman said.
While everything was going according to the plan, some returnees were unable to pay the bills of the quarantine hotels and as a result, the unpaid bill was taken care of by the community, he added.
Rahman also shared that when the ban was imposed in Dimapur during the pandemic, many people were stuck at the railway station and with the coordination of the authorities they were able to move the stranded people to DDSC stadium.
The working president of MCD added that they were able to provide food and essential goods to those people that were kept at the DDSC stadium; they also established a community kitchen and provided a helping hand by providing dry ration to thousands of people irrespective of religion and community in a three-phase project known as ‘project humanity first’.
Rahman added that in every phase, they provided dry ration to 10,000 families who were badly affected by the pandemic.
At the sharing session,co-ordinator of skill and development of Western Sümi Baptist Akukuhou Küqhakuku (WSBAK), Amughato Awomi said that they decided to come forward and help the people during the pandemic by opening a quarantine centre for the returnees at Livingstone Foundation International, at Kevija-ü/Thahekhu village, which was organised and managed by Western Sümi Hoho (WSH) and Western Sümi Baptist Akukuhou Küqhakuku (WSBAK) in collaboration with district administration.
Awomi added that 155 inmates were housed at the quarantine centre irrespective of community and the centre was equipped with free WiFi, first aid, 24/7 power back up, 24/7 security, 24/7 Online counselling, routine medical checkups from the medical fraternity.
Awomi shared that it was ‘chaos, people were scared, the government was not functioning according to how they expected them to be, colonies, villages and everyone locked their doors as everything was in chaos’.
In order to manage the returnees and quarantine centre, they approached the administration but unfortunately, they guided them with only do’s and don’ts; the authority did not guide them on how to manage the quarantine centre, therefore, they trained themselves online, he shared.
Awomi added that during this pandemic they learned that human behaviour changed its course and added that even after the quarantine period was over, villages and colonies did not want them back and they had to negotiate with them and make them understand..
At the event, member of Sisterhood Network Dimapur, Azung James said that Sisterhood Network aimed to bring structural change by empowering women. She added that during the pandemic Sisterhood Network as a social worker had initiated training livelihood skills in various villages which helped the women and children.
James added that during a survey done by the Sisterhood Network on returnees, out of 74 returnees 60% wantee to stay back in Nagaland and find a job while 36% person wanted to go back and the remaining were undecided. She added that out of the 74 returnees only 10 people had graduated and the remaining 12 passed and below, therefore it was a great concern for the returnees to find a job in Nagaland.
Pastor of DABA, Imnatoshi Longkumer shared that the Dimapur Ao Baptist Churches along with other Ao civil societies in Nagaland decided to help the government fight the novel coronavirus and Naga people in difficult and unprecedented times.
The quarantine centre was established at Dimapur government college administrative block and housed 252 returnees and provided the best facilities they could during the pandemic.
Longkumer added that during the pandemic social media created more panic and there were also many unfortunate experiences. He said that while managing the quarantine centres, they faced some problems from the Health department as well as from the Police department.
He added that even their close ones closed their door while returning home. ‘It was quite an experience but due to this pandemic, they were able to build a stronger relationship with the government and the community,’ he shared.
Longkumer added that the letter of appreciation and donation from the inmates was so inspiring that it motivated them to continue to help the people.
While sharing their experience during the Covid-19 first wave 2020 in Nagaland, the Co-ordinator, Pratibha, Vivekananda Welfare Foundation (VWF), Dimapur, Reeme Deb said that the pandemic overpowered the day-to- day lives of the people and due to lockdown people started to feel hopeless.
Deb mentioned that the VWF had provided rations to more than 2000 families to stranded people, labourers and daily wage earners etc and even hosted an awareness programme on Covid-19. She added that the challenges they faced were ensuring financial support and transportation, basic food and medical supply.
Deb shared that they dealt with stress and stigma by educating themselves first and did not fall for any rumours and misconceptions. They were able to manage their initiative by proper planning and added that they had received immense financial, physical, emotional and mental support from all their volunteers.
While addressing the gathering, faculty member of Oriental Theological Seminary Dr. Sashi Jamir informed that an academic journal on the first wave of Covid-19 will be published, managed by Melbourne University and a handbook on the first wave of Covid-19 in Nagaland will also be written, which will be managed by OTS.