Ward Disaster Management Committee (WDMC) and Urban Community Volunteers (UCVs) in three wards of Chattogram City Corporation respectively 7, 8 and 19, proactively responded to prevent COVID-19 pandemic. Major activities were done by UCVs were spraying disinfects in the houses, roads and transports, establishing hand wash corners, making awareness through leaflet and PVC board, blood donation, distributing food, taking patient with Coronavirus symptoms to the hospitals, helping death rituals, making people aware who came from abroad about 14 days quarantine and drawing signs keeping three feet distance in front of shops to help people maintain social distancing and distributing aid among people in need.
Besides, YPSA with the help of Save the Children under Proyash II project provided PPE and PVC board with COVID-19 awareness massage to ward councilors and UCVs. YPSA has been working on urban disaster risk reduction under the “Proyash II” project.
When the first patient identified on 8th March in Bangladesh, WDMC of 3 wards called emergency meetings coordinating with UCVs for taking necessary steps in prevention of coronavirus in their area. They discussed the plan to prevent coronavirus in their area.
During this pandemic until May, president of WDMC Mobarak Ali delivered cash support and food aid among 7,326 people from government fund and more than 4000 people from own fund with the help of UCVs.
Ward Councilor Mobarak Ali says, 7 no UCVs are working very closely with me, they are helping police and military to aware people about cleanliness and to keep people in home quarantine. Moreover, we have already collected list of 7000 day laborer and we have managed food aid for 1000 families. Our UCVs will use our two tomtom vehicles to deliver aid to peoples’ home. We get aid from government for 97 people which is insufficient against 7000 families in need.
During lockdown through direct intervention in the field, volunteers came to know about the need of marginal population in the area. Due to lockdown, their daily income has postponed and they are having hard time to maintain food and other daily allowance. Based upon that, UCVs and WDMC started planning to help them with aid along with other regular precautionary work to stop spread of coronavirus. Ward Councilor increased the number of UCVs up to 250, he involved other young volunteers as UCVs.
With the help of UCV, WDMC distributed aid from government, OMS system and from other social organizations. WDMC made lists of daily laborers to deliver aid in priority basis. In April, they gave aid among 4500 people. During the aid distribution, President of WDMC Councilor Mobarak Ali ensured social distancing with the help of UCVs. They divided the aid receivers into different groups and distributed aid among 30-40 people in a group in separate schedule. WDMC arranged hand wash and hand sanitizer system there, so that people can hand sanitize and then sign in the receiving paper.
Other initiatives taken by WDMC are taking the patient with Coronavirus symptoms to the hospitals and arranging free treatment and medicine for general patient. People from this ward can take these treatment facilities from floating treatment center arranged in front of the ward office from 11am-2pm. Moreover, for the garments worker Councilor office reopened and provided birth certificate who does not have and helped them to open Bkash account, so that workers can collect their salary easily.
In addition to that, UCVs also worked to maintain social distance and hygiene among aid collector during aid distribution. Moreover, to prevent community transmission they helped patient with Coronavirus symptoms to reach to medical for treatment with proper safeguard.
Also they helped volunteers of Ahmadiya Sunniya madrasa for performing death rituals. Also they sprayed disinfect throughout the ward and helped drivers to wash hand frequently to reduce risks of spreading virus. In addition, they guarded day at night in important circles of the ward because drug addicts and wrongdoers can take opportunity of lockdown and make troubles, sometimes can be the cause of fast spreading of virus. Another amazing work done by 7 no ward UCVs and WDMC members is conducting online campaign. UCVs made different awareness massages and shared on Facebook.
About UCVs restless activities, 7 number ward UCV leader Md Atiqur Rahman says, We are very lucky to have such supportive ward councilor, he always instructing and distributing us in different areas according to necessity. We are working efficiently under his guidance for Coronavirus prevention. UCVs are always ready to response to him in any emergency. Each and every UCVs are working day and night with local governance to control the emergency situation. Right now we are collecting aid for poor in case of lockdown.
The activities of WDMC and UCVs of 8 no ward continues till May as lockdown duration increased due to increasing patient of COVID-19. During the lockdown through direct intervention in the field they came to know about the need of marginal population in their area. Due to lockdown their daily income has postponed and they are having hard time to maintain food and other daily allowance. Based upon that UCVs and WDMC started planning to help more people with aid along with other regular precautionary work to stop spread of coronavirus. They made lists of marginal populations who are in need of food and other daily allowance for distributing aid. To do the lists they did not use NID card number, but the local people who have been living in the area. President of WDMC and Ward councilor Morshed Alam says, UCVs are working actively for making awareness on Coronavirus emergency from their space. I think we should emphasize on finding and keeping our foreign return citizens into home quarantine. Next we should think about food aid for our daily laborers, they are becoming depressed thinking about their no ways to earn livelihood.
Among marginal population they distributed aid in priority based to daily laborers, third gender people, people with special need, freedom fighters, religious leaders and homeless people. WDMC president Councilor Morshed Alam distributed aid from government in presence of CCC Mayor A. J. M Nasir Uddin. He also provided aid on behalf of other social welfare organizations. Around more than 5000 people received the aid till May. Also WDMC continued spraying disinfect throughout the ward and making awareness about COVID-19 among local people. In addition, they helped people in getting treatment fast with symptom of coronavirus.
UCVs of 8 no ward is working with dedication to reduce risks and stresses due to COVID-19 pandemic. Along with conducting field and online awareness they also continued to spray disinfect and ensured social distancing to prevent the spread of. They raised fund and distributed aid among 200 people. In addition they helped councilor to distribute aid from government and other social organizations.
It is a challenge for all the frontline fighters, WDMC and UCVs to do social work on preventing Coronavirus without any training. However, during this lockdown despite all challenges of fear of becoming infected by coronavirus UCV and WDMC are working in collaboration to overcome this long lasting hazard.
Due to lockdown, daily laborers income has postponed and they are having hard time to maintain food and other daily allowance. Also as increasing of COVID-19 people and panicked and many serious patients who needs blood are suffering lack of treatment facilities. Based upon that UCVs emphasized on volunteer blood donation more during lockdown along with other regular precautionary work to stop spread of coronavirus.
WDMC of 19 no ward made lists of marginal populations who are in need of food and other daily allowance for distributing aid and they distributed aid from government and other social organizations. Also they continued spraying disinfect throughout the ward and making awareness about COVID-19 among local people. In addition, they helped people in getting treatment fast with symptom of coronavirus.
President of WDMC and Ward Councilor Yasin Chowdhury Asu says, UCVs have already done great work for creating awareness about coronavirus and people are maintaining hygiene. However, it is difficult to maintain social distancing, because most of the people in the area are poor and day laborer. They have to go out for livelihood. Yesterday one rickshaw puller was crying to me and said he earned only 20 taka that day, how would he pay for rent rickshaw, go to home and buy food for his family? I have already provided food among 700 people in my area, but now beside the coronavirus panic people are getting worried for hunger. I am cordially requesting everyone to come forward and help our poor, if needed give your ZAKAT now and save them from hunger.
19 no UCVs mainly worked on making people aware about social distancing and on responding to emergency blood donation along with other activities to reduce risks of spreading virus. Also UCVs from different clubs such as BS Boys Club, Amra Korbo Joy, BK TV initiated to distribute aid among 5,450 families and also distributed cooked food among 6,500 people in the area. From their active participation in field for reducing shocks and stresses due to COVID-19 near to 15000 people got benefited.
UCV leader of 19 no ward, Abu Bakkar Harun says, We are trying our best to aware people on Coronavirus pandemic in small scale. However, we are facing difficulty in coordinating with local governance and work in field accordingly. Right now we have shortages of PPE and food aid. We are trying to collect food for daily laborers in case of lockdown due to emergency.
From the very beginning of spreading coronavirus in Bangladesh, 19 no UCVs are working in making awareness and helping poor in their ward from their own finance. However, their enthusiasm to run the activities with own costs without any training on COVID-19 prevention is appreciable. If they get more economic and political support from WDMC in future they will be a great social change maker without any doubt.