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Poverty in India is a major issue, and it results in staggering homeless rates, leaving millions on the streets to face the threat of winter alone. Contrary to popular belief, India’s climate isn’t warm all year round, and they face harsh winters of frost and bitter cold. 

For those of us with adequate homes, we’re able to wrap up warm in blankets in the comfort of a heated home. However, for the 65 million Indian’s living on the streets, this isn’t the case. Instead, they must endure these temperatures and suffer their deathly effects. Not only will these poor individuals find themselves in painful discomfort, but they will also be susceptible to illness and eventually death.

Here at UKIM, we have set up our India Appeal to help the people of India survive this winter. We rely on your donations to distribute winter packs and improve the housing conditions of those in need. Please, give what you can. 

Homelessness Crisis in India

India’s 2011 census defines a ‘houseless household’ as households who “live in the open on roadside, pavements, under flyovers and staircases, or in the open places of worship, mandaps, railway platforms, etc.” From this definition, the homelessness figure of 65 million inhabitants out of a population of almost 1.4 billion was established. In fact, one in six Indians who live in cities reside in slums. In order to combat this crisis, 18.78 million extra houses would need to be built within the country. Until this happens, homelessness in India will continue to be common practice, leaving millions susceptible to the threat of winter. 

Causes of Homelessness

India’s 2011 census defines a ‘houseless household’ as households who “live in the open on roadside, pavements, under flyovers and staircases, or in the open places of worship, mandaps, railway platforms, etc.” From this definition, the homelessness figure of 65 million inhabitants out of a population of almost 1.4 billion was established. In fact, one in six Indians who live in cities reside in slums. In order to combat this crisis, 18.78 million extra houses would need to be built within the country. Until this happens, homelessness in India will continue to be common practice, leaving millions susceptible to the threat of winter. 

Street Children

It’s estimated that there are upwards of 400,000 street children in India who will be vulnerable to the threat of the cold this winter. These children are categorised into four groups: abandoned lone children, children who spend their time on the street and don’t contact or live with family, children who stay on the street but reside with family, and children who live with family but work on the streets.

Alongside the fear of freezing to death and becoming infected with deathly winter illnesses, street children face a whole range of problems. They rummage through rubbish to find food scraps and spare change as a hot meal is unattainable. Additionally, they’re often subjected to exploitation, abuse, and prostitution.

Challenges Faced by the Homeless

The greatest challenge faced by the homeless is the inaccessibility of shelter; shelter provides a huge protective layer that could shield someone from all manner of problems. One of the biggest killers of homeless people in India is exposure to extreme weather conditions that are particularly damaging during winter. In fact, between January 2005 and December 2009, seven homeless people died each day in Delhi as a consequence of unbearable temperatures. With proper shelter, these people wouldn’t have frozen to death, yet with ample access to medical care, they could have been treated ahead of such a tragedy. 

Act Before They Freeze with UKIM

Winter is a silent killer in India and the rest of the developing world, and something as simple as blankets could aid someone in need. Here at UKIM, we believe that no one should fall victim to severe weather conditions. You can help protect the people of India by contributing to the building of shelters and the distribution of care packages. 

Please, donate to our appeal today to help defeat the threat that winter poses to the citizens of India. 

 

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