A Cataclysm of Hunger, Disease and Illiteracy 新冠肺炎疫情後 飢餓疾病與失學的大難
A Cataclysm of Hunger, Disease and Illiteracy
We think of COVID-19 as killing primarily the elderly around the world, but in poor countries it is more cataclysmic than that.
It is killing children through malnutrition. It is leading more people to die from tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS. It is forcing girls out of school and into child marriages. It is causing women to die in childbirth. It is setting back efforts to eradicate polio, fight malaria and reduce female genital mutilation. It is leading to lapses in vitamin A distribution that will cause more children to suffer blindness and die.
"The indirect impact of COVID-19 in the Global South will be even greater than the direct impact," Dr. Muhammad Musa, executive director of BRAC International, an outstanding Bangladesh-based nonprofit, told me. "The direct impact, as tragic as it is, affects those infected and their families. The indirect impact has economic and social consequences for vastly more people — with jobs lost, families hungry, domestic violence up, more children leaving school, and costs over generations."
In this sense, many of those whom COVID-19 kills never actually get the disease. Instead, they are children who die of measles because they couldn't get vaccinated in a time of plague — up to 80 million children may miss vaccinations. Or they die of malnutrition because their fathers lost jobs as rickshaw drivers or their mothers couldn't sell vegetables in the market.
As is often the case in economic crises, the burden falls particularly on girls.More are being married off as children so that the new husband's family will feed them, or they are sent off to the city to work as maids in exchange for food and negligible incomes — while facing an end to education and significant risk of abuse.
The estate of T.S. Eliot has gifted the struggling museum, which reopened in late August after being closed since March, 20,000 pounds (or approximately $26,000) this month. The donation was first reported by the BBC.
The parsonage, located in Haworth, said it was facing a loss of expected income of more than 500,000 pounds because of the coronavirus pandemic.
There is a connection between Eliot and the Brontës: The "Bradford millionaire" who appears in the Eliot poem "The Waste Land" is thought to be Sir James Roberts, a Yorkshire philanthropist who was also a customer at the bank where Eliot worked. Roberts donated Haworth Parsonage — once the home of the Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne — to the Brontë Society, which operates the museum, in 1928. Roberts knew the family as a child.
But the Eliot estate's gift didn't come with any fanfare: Rebecca Yorke, the head of communications and marketing at the Brontë Society, said she discovered the donation when it showed up on the museum's crowdfunding campaign page with a message of support. "Realizing that it was from the T.S. Eliot estate was a very special moment," she said.
Yorke said the Eliot estate told the organization that the donation was possible thanks to the success of the Tony-winning Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Cats," which is based on Eliot's playful 1939 poetry collection "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats."
The parsonage houses the largest collection of Brontë manuscripts and personal possessions in the world and attracts more than 70,000 visitors each year. "Jane Eyre," by Charlotte Brontë, and "Wuthering Heights," by Emily Brontë, were both written there.
The museum has been hard hit by the pandemic because more than 70% of the Brontë Society's income comes from admissions, events and retail, according to its website. The typically busy spring and summer months normally sustain it through the slower winter season.