A friend of a friend had gone to her hometown Bihar for a holiday in her family home. She returned in a tearing hurry with her 2-year old. The reason? She was worried that her son would ‘contact’ the deadly encephalitis. And another friend narrated how people have stopped buying lychees across India because they fear their children could eat the fruit and die.
This is how lack of information or misinformation is spreading with all the blame being put on the fruit. It is tragic that the humble and sweetest lychees in India are today being shunned. Blaming the death of 150 small children on this fruit is as dumb as it can get.
It needs to be conveyed by the media and social media that these deaths were due to acute poverty. These children were all malnourished and had no food to eat. So when the harvest of lychees came calling, they gorged themselves on the fruit throughout the day. Eating so much fruit on an empty stomach pushed down their sugar levels to alarming levels, ultimately leading to the tragic deaths. The lack of health care further aggravated the situation.
Apart from the complete failure of the Nitish Kumar govt in controlling the situation, it is shameful that complete apathy led to these deaths. When this occurs every year during peak summer and lychee season, couldn’t spread of right information helped save some lives? And with so much food being wasted all around us, why couldn’t NGOs get to work and ensure that at least these children were fed? Anganwadis have failed miserably.
Sadly, the two sweetest things on earth – children and lychees are paying the price of Govt apathy.