Itanagar: Northeast India is blessed with natural beauty but most of the places in the region are remote and not easily accessible. In order to reach out to such an area in Arunachal Pradesh’s Lower Dibang Valley, civil society organisations are now collaborating with the district administration to provide relief to people living in the easternmost edge of India amid the COVID-19 crisis.
With help from organisations like AMYAA and Childline, Roing — the headquarters of Lower Dibang Valley district — is now taking the lead in reaching out to the most vulnerable of communities.
Roing is about two-and-a-half hours from the nearest railway station of Tinsukia in neighbouring Assam and three hours from the nearest airport in Dibrugarh. By road, it’s about 600 km from Guwahati, the commercial hub of Northeast in Assam, and can take up to 13 hours just to reach Roing. The villages beyond it can take even longer to reach.
The help provided by the organisations comes in the form of material support like daily ration, medical assistance to needy children, masks, sanitary napkins and even counseling. “We have been working in this region for close to 11 years now and have a deep association with the local community. Through our intervention, we are reaching out to people in critical need of our assistance,” said RK Paul Chawang, director of AMYAA.
In collaboration with Childline and the district administration, AMYAA has even provided routine immunisation, Vitamin A and deworming supplements to children in the age-group of 1-5 years in the region, where otherwise kids did not have access to healthcare due to the lockdown.
Among their other critical interventions include providing essential supplies to elderly in the age group of 70-100+ years and disabled in Parbuk, Kebali, Koronu, Denlo, Jia, and Dambuk villages of the district. Sanitary napkins are also being distributed to adolescent girls across the district.
Healthcare has taken a major hit in the region. Not many can travel to the district hospital. Interventions by civil society organisations like AMYAA have brought the plight of residents in remote villages to light and has bridged the gap between district administration and remote villages to ramp up relief work.
So far, since the announcement of the lockdown in March, owing to the collaboration between AMYAA, Childline and the district administration, over 1,100 masks have been distributed to the vulnerable. Over 550 migrant labourers are being supplied daily ration on a weekly basis to ensure they do not go hungry despite job loss.
The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to continue for a longer period of time, hence AMYAA has also started a fundraising campaign online to continue supporting the most vulnerable. “It is heartening to see people from across India contribute to ensure that our endeavour is successful. It is this support that enables us to travel to some of the most remote corners of this district and provide critical support,” said Chawang.
The COVID intervention in the Lower Dibang valley is a testament to the power of collaboration. Civil society organisations have shouldered the burden of the district administration, supporting them at critical junctures to ensure COVID support reaches the most vulnerable lot in the district.
The region, home to the Idu Mishmis, Adis, and Mising tribes, is characterised by poor socio-economic development. Poor connectivity and the vagaries of weather add to the hardships faced by the local tribal communities.