Daniel Ominto lost his job and then his home when he sent the coronavirus pandemic Philippines In closing. He and his family now live on the street, and depend on food aid to survive.
Charities are struggling to meet the ever-increasing demand for food as millions of families suffer from hunger across the country, according to Agence France-Presse.
Covid-19 restrictions have crippled the economy and thrown a lot of work.
“I’ve never seen hunger at this level before,” said Jomar Fleiras, CEO of Rise Against Hunger in the Philippines, which works with more than 40 partners to feed the poor.
“If you go out there, everyone will tell you that they are more afraid of dying from hunger than they are of dying from Covid. They don’t care about Covid anymore.”
The number of people suffering from hunger reached a record high during the pandemic, according to Social Weather Stations surveys.
The survey in September showed that nearly a third of families – or 7.6 million households – did not have enough food to eat at least once in the previous three months.
Among them, 2.2 million families suffer from “extreme hunger” – the highest rate ever.
The numbers have been on the rise since May, two months after the country entered a severe lockdown – reversing the downward trend since 2012.
Virus restrictions have eased in recent months to allow more companies to operate as the government seeks to revive the shattered economy, which is expected to shrink by up to 9.5% this year.
For the hordes of the country’s poor, the pandemic is just another challenge in their lives – not even the most dangerous.
Ominto, 41, spent years sleeping on the streets and making as much money as possible by selling trash for recycling. His fortunes changed in 2019 when he found a stable job as a building painter.
That gave him enough money to rent a room in Manila, which he shared with his wife and two-year-old daughter, buy food and even save a little for their dream of opening a convenience store.