A family of six in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh district have been hospitalised after not eating anything for days, The Times of India reported on Thursday. They could not get provisions due to lack of Aadhaar and ration cards, said a local non-governmental organisation that stepped in to help.
Guddi Devi, 45, a widow and mother of five, lost her job at a export company during the coronavirus-induced lockdown last year. Her eldest son, who is 20, started working to support the family, but he fell ill two months ago and failed to earn money.
On Tuesday, the NGO, Hands for Help, received an anonymous call on their helpline number about the family’s condition, according to The Times of India. The caller informed them that the family lived in Aligarh’s Mandir ka Nagla village. A team from the organisation then left for the village.
Members of the NGO found the family in a sick and delirious state, according to the newspaper. They saw some leftover pieces of potatoes in their courtyard.
Devi said that the neighbours helped her family sometimes. “I approached the local ration dealer but he refused to help,” she claimed. “Then, I asked the village pradhan [head] if he could come to my aid but he didn’t either.”
Aligarh Supply Officer Rajesh Soni said a notice has been issued to the village head and the ration shop owner for refusing to help Devi’s family. “We are providing ration kits with fruits now and their Aadhaar cards are being made,” he added.
The family was taken to the Aligarh District Hospital on Tuesday afternoon. Devi weighed just 38 kilograms, according to The Times of India. Her eldest son weighed 40 kgs. Her three younger children, aged 10 to 15, weighed between 15 and 30 kgs.
Meena Saxena, the nurse who is in-charge of the ward where the family was admitted, told the newspaper that the children complained of stomach ache and nausea.
Aligarh Chief Medical Officer RK Singh said the family was put on a high-protein diet, according to ANI. “They have a fever and the physicians are taking care of them,” he added. “Their situation has improved.”