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Pakistan, Lahore, scavengers, high-risk infection: do not even have gloves to empty the sewers

LAHORE (AsiaNews) – The scavengers christians of Pakistan continue to work even without templates, and other decisive measures. Their category - you learn by AsiaNews - is among the most at risk for infection by a coronavirus. However, given the occasional job and not protected and cannot stay home to protect their health, such as, for example, did the hospital doctors of Punjab who have refused to go back into the lane because there were no masks. Father Saleh Diego, the vicar general of the archdiocese of Karachi, tells AsiaNews: “I Am very concerned for them. They are the most neglected and marginalized of society”.

A work inhuman and degrading. In Pakistan, the number of positive cases of the coronavirus came today to 1.102; eight of the victims. The Islamabad government has decided to block the Country and asked all citizens to stay home as much as possible to avoid the spread of the pandemic. In the province of Sindh, 90% of the scavengers belong to the christian minority in the Punjab, 80% of the total number of employees. The type of work, inhuman, and degrading, is among those permitted in the community, who otherwise would not know how to survive. However, the health risks are very high because of the typical characteristics of this work, which involves the collection of waste, the emptying of sewers, the cleaning of the streets, all by hand.

likely to become the main vehicle of the new virus. Father Diego tells us: “we can see Them on the streets without wearing precautions, no masks or gloves when they clean the bathrooms, empty the sumps, clean the sewage system and the drains of the city”. For this, he adds, “we urge the government to give them medical supplies”. Sooba Bhatti, an activist of Hydearabad, the second most populous city of the province of Sindh, about 160 km from Karachi, says: “the conditions of these people are critical. In so doing, risk their own existence. These women go around without shoes, more than that without gloves, and protective masks”. Then the complaint: “The government officials are on holiday, but the workers of the christian minority are in service. All the scavengers who work the streets should go on holiday the same way or to receive the double salary if the government wants to continue”.

the indifference of The authorities. Chalice Sahotra, a christian and trade union leader of the scavengers of Faisalabad, protest: “we Cry in a long time that these workers must be taken seriously and must be provided all the necessary material. But the authorities seem to be indifferent in front of this grave question. We must pay tribute to all these people who continue to serve the entire nation with tireless effort and without protection measures. Must be given the same respect as doctors, paramedics and those who fight against the coronavirus to save our lives.”

* Shafique Khokhar writes for AsiaNews

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