Chennai floods, emergency relief and sanitation workers – update from on the ground

As part of ‪#‎Chennaifloods‬ relief efforts, an example to highlight the systemic political failures that have been aggravated in this crisis:
Thousands of ‪#‎sanitationworkers‬ (most on contract) from Chennai, other districts and other states are being brought in to ‘clean’ (i.e hide from mainstream glare) all the mess that the rivers flung back into the city or left rotting in the wake of its recedence. The workers are simply boxed in without enough water, food or sleep. Not coincidentally, be it flood ravaged areas, or the general cityscape, the one arm of the state that astounds in its preeminent functioning, is ‪#‎TASMAC‬. For a government that believes it has tasted success in ‘averting’ the worst of the deluge, this is how epidemics are to be prevented – with the same formula of unleashing devastation on unsuspecting sections. The sanitation workers are forced into more horrific hazardous conditions than usual, without‪ #‎gumboots‬‪#‎gloves‬‪#‎masks‬, hand-operated tools, ‪#‎disinfectants‬,‪#‎antiseptics‬, raincoats etc. Besides the need for these instruments and medical supplies to be included in the continuous stream of provisions people are contributing, the vigorous exploitation-oppression in the name of emergency relief, disaster mitigation and public welfare, must bother us, at least now.
The picture here doesn’t half reflect the sewage-and-slush enveloped menace that more and more streets are turning into, but the Twitter narration of which it is a part has to be read –
” Giving people food and water is the easy part. Cleaning out rotting trash is the more difficult one. With caste prejudices built in. So I went thinking I’ll be of use by cleaning trash this afternoon, in rubber boots and gloves thinking that’s what’s required. The mountain of rotten trash was something. corporation workers were on it, but it was hopelessly huge. The corporation worker there looked at me with some pity and said: this is why we need to show up fully drunk. Else we can’t work. I did not know what to do. The man said, give me some money for alcohol. I gave him ₹500 and walked away. This is what we are now. Incapable of cleaning our own trash unless we employ a bunch of underclass who’d show up drunk to ignore stench. One of the workers there was from Karur, who’d been driven overnight to Madras by the state. Give them some credit for resource planning. The shame of giving up is just as bad as the nausea. And lasts longer. “
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