Editor: 阿斌 Ah Bin
One of my classmates volunteered in Dongchang District, Tonghua City to deliver food. She finished her food delivery after 3 a.m. and chatted with me for an hour. She was agitated. She said that she finally understood why so many people experienced food shortage these days. The community simply did not deliver food to the people who needed it most.
According to my classmate, instead of going door-to-door, volunteers had been given a list of key people who had priority for food delivery. I asked who were the key groups and she replied, they were supposedly low income households and poor people. Speaking of which, my classmate then became agitated. “How could poor families afford to live in high-end residential communities like Lijingrenjia and Houdezaiwu?”
Of course, I understood what she was saying. My concern was, how could low income and poor households be regarded as the groups experiencing food shortage? The Tonghua government had simply not understood that the truly vulnerable groups were the ones who had not been able to stock up food due to sudden lockdown, regardless of their age or economic status. When people not on the delivery lists asked for food, they were told that there were not enough supplies or that delivery had already completed.
The government officials had stocked up food. Hence, they thought that those who tweeted about their children having gnawed an apple for three days and had no food other than white rice, were isolated cases. Mayor Li Ping, can you confidently say that no one in Tonghua, a city with a population of 400,000, has suffered starvation during the lockdown? If there has been any starvation, you are the one responsible for it.
Further, there were other problems in the volunteers’ work arrangements.
Firstly, preparation work was inefficient. Volunteers were gathered at midnight, and it took a long time just to distribute protective clothing. By the time relevant recipients were notified by phone of the deliveries, the volunteers started delivery food only around 2 a.m. Whilst my classmate completed her delivery around 3 a.m., certain groups only completed food delivery the following morning.
Secondly, distribution stations were not well organised. My classmate lives in district A but was arranged to deliver food to areas far from district A. Her delivery destinations were scattered across almost the entire Dongchang district, including Zuo’an, the old station, the trade centre, the Mayflower, Lijing and so forth. The route was poorly planned and delivery very time-consuming.
According to my classmate, despite the delivery having been scheduled to take place at midnight, there were a good number of volunteers who were enthusiastic about supporting their community. The setback was purely due to poor management of the delivery process. As someone said, “Now I know why it took them so many days to finish delivering the food.” My classmate’s experience should be a reflection of how food delivery work was carried out in the entire Tonghua City.
Due to the lockdown in Tonghua, people could only read news through Weibo, news reports, WeChat group chat and word-of-mouth. News of cars full of food or many volunteers gave the impression that there was sufficient food supply and manpower, and people expected their food to be delivered sooner.
In reality, there were many problems with the authorities’ management of the distribution process. Food could be at one’s doorstep but would instead be distributed to the “key people” on the list only. Everyone else needing the food received nothing.
Needless to say, the small proportion of communities who received food delivery were widely reported by the media and the quality of food they received was also very good. They praised the authorities and reprimanded the others who complained about non-delivery of food, saying that Tonghua residents had already received their food delivery, and that the complainers were vicious in causing division in the Tonghua community. These privileged communities think they represent the reality, but do they?
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of GNEWS.org.
Original article: https://gnews.org/zh-hans/855741/ (通化志愿者揭秘送菜真相)