Nawalparasi locals return spoiled rice distributed as reliefDistrict administration office forms committee to investigate the incident.
Residents of Ramgram Municipality in Nawalparasi (West) district have returned rice and other foodstuff provided to them as relief in the face of the coronavirus epidemic.
Locals, who received sacs of rice and other food products earlier in the day, returned the relief materials to the municipality office.
Sohan Kewat, a local Ward No. 6, said they were provided substandard food items in the name of relief. “The rice and soya chunks we received is not even suitable for cattle,” said Kewat. “We will fall ill if we eat these things. We will remain hungry for a couple of days, but will not eat bug-infested food.”
Municipality officials, who earlier in the week collected data of impoverished families in the town, had started distributing relief from wards 6 and 11, halted the programme after facing protests.
The municipality had planned to distribute 10kg rice, one kg lentils, half-litre cooking oil, half-kg soya chunks and two bars of soaps to each of 2,300 families on its list.
The municipality had purchased 250 quintals of rice from Rajesh Rice shop in Parasi. According to the municipality office, they spent Rs 1 million on the rice.
“We had told the supplier to pack the rice and soya chunks and send them to us for distribution,” said Mayor Narendra Kumar Gupta.
“When we’d visited the shop, we were shown good quality rice and soya chunks,” he added .
According to Gupta, the municipality office is going to test the food items meant for distribution. “We will address the public complaints soon,” he said.
Following the incident, the Nawalparasi (West) District Administration Office has formed a five-member team to investigate the incident. Chief District Officer Basudev Dahal said the team led by Sagar Gautam, the administrative officer of the District Administration Office, will verify the quality and quantity of the food items procured.
“We have collected samples of rice and soya chunks for quality tests. The results will be disclosed after obtaining lab reports,” said Gautam.
Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus outbreak
UPDATED as of June 2, 2020
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19, short for coronavirus disease, is an illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How contagious is Covid-19?
Covid-19 can spread easily from person to person, especially in enclosed spaces. The virus can travel through the air in respiratory droplets produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. As the virus can also survive on plastic and steel surfaces for up to 72 hours and on cardboard for up to 24 hours, any contact with such surfaces can also spread the virus. Symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear, during which time the carrier is believed to be contagious.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus was first identified in Wuhan, China in late December. The coronavirus is a large family of viruses that is responsible for everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). After an initial outbreak in Wuhan that spread across Hubei province, eventually infecting over 80,000 and killing more than 3,000, new infection rates in mainland China have dropped. However, the disease has since spread across the world at an alarming rate.
What is the current status of Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation has called the ongoing outbreak a “pandemic” and urged countries across the world to take precautionary measures. Covid-19 had spread to 213 countries and infected more than 6,321,836 people with 375,657 deaths. In South Asia, India has reported the highest number of infections at 198,140 with 5,608 deaths. While Pakistan has reported 72,460 confirmed cases with 1,543 deaths. Nepal has so far reported 1,811 cases with eight deaths.
How dangerous is the disease?
The mortality rate for Covid-19 is estimated to be 3.6 percent, but new studies have put the rate slightly higher at 5.7 percent. Although Covid-19 is not too dangerous to young healthy people, older individuals and those with immune-compromised systems are at greater risk of death. People with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, or those who’ve recently undergone serious medical procedures, are also at risk.
How do I keep myself safe?
The WHO advises that the most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol content. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands. Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces like your computers and phones. Avoid large crowds of people. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist for longer than a few days.
Is it time to panic?
No. The government has imposed a lockdown to limit the spread of the virus. There is no need to begin stockpiling food, cooking gas or hand sanitizers. However, it is always prudent to take sensible precautions like the ones identified above.