Youth volunteers packing food for quarantine inmates in Manipur's Ukhrul

Ukhrul: As many as 8,296 people have arrived in Ukhrul district in Manipur from various parts of the country since mid-May amid COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Besides keeping them in quarantine centres with basic facilities, one of the biggest challenges faced by the district administration is to provide them healthy and well-cooked food in this time of medical emergency crisis.

Now shouldering the burden together in a time of like this, the youth society of the Union Baptist Church (UBC) in the district headquarters has volunteered themselves to manage the kitchen for those quarantined since May 23.

At least 40 youth and some mothers are engaged in cooking on a daily basis and provide meals to around 1,000 returnees staying at eight institutional quarantine centres in Ukhrul.

For these youth, mostly in their early 20s and the other women, the day normally starts by as early as 4 am in the morning and ends around 8 pm.

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A woman working at the kitchen in Ukhrul

For many, this has become a daily routine to ensure that the food reached the quarantinees staying at the various centres on time and, most importantly, warm food.

They provided lunch to inmates at 9 am, afternoon tea and snacks at 1 pm and dinner at 5 pm.

However, as informed by them, the youth often face problems in packaging due to lack of proper packaging materials available in the town, combined with the cold climatic condition prevailing in the hill district amid the pandemic lockdown.

The arrival of the monsoon rainfall plays a spoiler and often disturbs them in movement. However, the vagaries of the weather do not deters these committed youngsters who ensure that the returnees receive the utmost care at this crucial juncture.

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Volunteers cleaning vegetables for quarantine inmates in Ukhrul
Women washing organic mustard leaves for for the returnees at quarantine centres

Speaking with EastMojo, Chingzar Muinao, Youth pastor of Union Baptist Church, said, “We all are tired and exhausted since we have been engaged in cooking for the returnees for the last 17 days. But we will continue this service keeping in mind that we are serving to our own brothers and sisters who have come home during this difficult times.”

As per reports, fresh vegetables are being donated by various organisations and villages.

Earlier, Ukhrul MLA Alfred Kanngam Arthur had also assured to bear the expenses and provide ration for all the community quarantine centers under his constituency.

There are around 17 institutional quarantine centers which are managed and run by the Ukhrul district administration and over 200 community centres operated in the villages to house the returnees from various cities and states.

As on June 12, Ukhrul recorded 21 COVID-19 cases, of which six have already recovered.

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