#benderaputih: Desperate Malaysians Wave White Flags To Signal Hunger And Other Distress During Lockdown

by Swarajya Staff - Jul 5, 2021 12:50 PM +05:30 IST
#benderaputih: Desperate Malaysians Wave White Flags To Signal Hunger And Other Distress During Lockdown#benderaputih
Snapshot
  • The #benderaputih - or white flag - campaign encourages affected families to hang a white flag or cloth in front of their homes so that neighbours can render immediate assistance.

    According to NGO's and community organisers, the campaign was the clearest sign yet of the economic despair that hundreds of thousands of Malaysia’s lower income families have experienced under the nationwide lockdown.

    Malaysia Is Battling Its Worst Wave Of COVID-19

White flags could be seen flying outside homes and poverty relief organisations across Malaysia this past week as citizens cried out for food and other assistance amid the country’s latest Covid-19 lockdown, Channel Asia reported

Malaysians nationwide began the white flag campaign dubbed #benderaputih to signal they are running low on food and other necessities.

The #benderaputih - or white flag - campaign gained momentum on social media last week, to help lower income families signal distress. On Facebook, several #benderaputih groups have been created to help users post pictures and addresses where assistance is required.

According to NGO's and community organisers, the campaign was the clearest sign yet of the economic despair that hundreds of thousands of Malaysia’s lower income families have experienced under the nationwide lockdown.

Malaysia has been under a nationwide lockdown since 1 June to rein in a surge of Covid infections. The lockdown will stay in place until the country’s daily caseload falls below 4,000.

Malaysia has been battling its worst wave of the pandemic, with total deaths more than tripling to almost 5,400 in the past two months.

On Saturday, the country reported 6,658 new infections over a 24 hour period.

Heart wrenching stories of families with depleted savings surviving on one meal a day have made the news in recent weeks.

Suicides have gone up, with police data showing that 468 people have taken their own lives over the first five months of the year, compared to 631 across the entire year in 2020, and 609 the year before.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government announced a fresh set of stimulus measures earlier this week to mitigate the blow of a “total lockdown”. The stimulus includes direct cash transfer to poor households but the payouts is unlikely to be done before August.

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