Corona Virus: 'I might die of starvation rather than a virus
“I will probably starve to death instead of the virus at this time,” says Pantira Sothi, a resident of Klong Tui, Thailand’s largest slum and a food vendor.
Located in the center of the capital, Bangkok, locals consider it the most ugly part of the beautiful city.
This one and a half square kilometer area, consisting of small houses made of rotten wood and old tones, has swamps of land and drains.
Sothi is a single mother raising her children and grandchildren without any help. She makes a living by selling fried chicken and meatballs in front of a nearby school, but her only source of income is suddenly lost due to the epidemic as the school is closed.
She earned a thousand baht (US 30 30) a day, but suddenly her income was zero. She has been devastated by the virus. This is the story of many of the 20,000 residents of the Klong Toi Katchi population.
Photo copyright Wasawat Lukharang / BBC Thai
Buying food items for your family for a couch is more important than buying hand sanitizers or face masks. She can only buy one of them.
She says, 'Fortunately no one has been infected in our community yet. So I will not get sick or die from it.
But with that, she also says, 'Poverty is slowly killing us … My only wish is that the situation get better soon and I hope the government will help us. ’
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They have neither school children nor any other customer to buy their food. In such a situation, they are not meeting their daily expenses.
She says, 'I really want to go out to sell food and try to make some money. But I don’t have enough money to buy my own food. In that case, where would I get the money to buy chicken and meatballs and sell them?
She currently spends her meals distributed by different temples and different foundations.
'Whenever I hear that people are being provided free food in the area, I get there and try to get as much food as possible so that the whole house can get enough. I’m scared of the virus, but with limited resources and a lack of money, this is the way I can survive. ’
Photo copyright Wasawat Lukharang / BBC Thai
For those living in the slums, there are no more career paths left than drug trafficking and smuggling.
Like many others, Thongrowing Thongfuen is a 56-year-old woman who earns a living as a laborer and is currently struggling to make ends meet.
Every day, she and her husband leave the slums and stand on a nearby highway waiting for someone to take them to work. He knows the government’s advice on not leaving the house, but he feels that making money is more important than staying alive.
‘Poor people like us have very little choice,’ says Thongfuin. I know the government is asking everyone to stay home. But if I don’t go out to make money, none of us will survive.
“No one is ready to hire us,” he said. When we are out, we are at risk of getting infected with the virus and we may be carrying it in our neighborhood. But what can I do? My children need food and those from whom we have borrowed keep coming to pay. I have a lot of pressure. Sometimes I don’t even see the benefit of living. ”
Image copyright Getty Images
Klong Tui is the largest slum in Thailand. Officially, there are at least 20,000 people living there, but the actual number is thought to be much higher, perhaps close to 100,000.
Houses are built on top of one another, making it extremely difficult to prevent the spread of diseases.
Most of the slum dwellers are aware of the Kovod-19 epidemic but due to limited resources they can do nothing but look at each other.
“Most of the people in this community are children, the elderly and the sick who have little movement,” said Sunit Moinwai, another resident. If there is a single case here, consider the whole community clean.
Image copyright Wasawat Lukharang / BBC Thai
Ludda Mengipole is 26 years old and lives in a slum population. She makes face masks and gives people free.
“I am one of the lucky ones who has a job and is able to take care of my family,” she says. But I see a lot of my aunts, uncles and neighbors who are struggling in this crisis.
"They are all workers and they have no job at this time. This is just the first month of the outbreak in Bangkok and people are already in trouble. I cannot imagine what will happen next month. ’
He added: 'The situation in my block is terrible. There is a certified case of Cod 19 … I’m afraid