After One Year, Many Still Feel the Impacts of Pandemic

This March marks the first anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic in Indonesia. Many are still feeling the severe impacts of the pandemic on the economy and health system.

Scavengers receive free meal packages.
Unang and his wife receive meal packages from the Free Meal Operation program in Cimahi. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, CIMAHI - Until March 2021, one year after the first reported Covid-19 cases in Indonesia, there is no sign that this pandemic will end anytime soon. The number of new reported cases and casualties continues to increase. The pandemic affects both the economy and the health system. 

Unang (40) is one of the people whose livelihood has been impacted by the pandemic. Living in Karangmekar Village, Ngamprah District, West Bandung Regency, Unang works as a scavenger.  Every day, he goes around his village to collect garbage to be sold. Living with his wife who is blind, Dewiarsih (52), he struggles every day to make ends meet. When the pandemic first broke out, his livelihood was hampered because many neighborhoods were locked down. To date, his income is still severely impacted by the pandemic. 

Another scavenger, Roby (13), who lives in Cipageran, Cimahi, has also been impacted by the pandemic. At a young age, he helps his parents who work searching for scraps. Along with his older brother, he scavenges after he finishes learning from home. During the pandemic, Roby's family’s livelihood has been severely affected. Their expenses increase as they have to spend more on online learning. 

The impact of the pandemic is quite severe on the sustenance of impoverished families. Many experts have pointed out that the pandemic has caused the decline of the Indonesian economy. Many poverty-stricken families are facing difficulties in making ends meet.

Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT), as a humanitarian organization that is taking part in the alleviation of the pandemic, has ongoing programs that serve to help fulfill the basic necessities of the people in need, including the Free Meal Operation program. In early March, meal packages have been distributed to hundreds of Cimahi and West Bandung Residents. 

ACT Cimahi Branch Manager Sopian Syekh Abdul Sani Haeruman said the Free Meal Operation benefit not only poor residents and informal workers but also students in several Islamic boarding schools.

"This program is a manifestation of the community’s generosity. Despite the economic difficulties caused by the pandemic, many generous people never cease to do acts of generosity,” said Sopian. []