Another option is to set up distribution the same way that we now take appointments for co-ops. People must apply for a time slot and then go only during the time slot. This would limit those outdoors and will also help with crowd control. The government and charities are already looking at this problem, trying to find means to distribute food, and especially iftars, in a safe, responsible way.
The number of people in Kuwait without salaries or income is now estimated at more than 250,000. Although a few thousand have left or will be leaving to return to their home countries, the vast majority will remain here during the holy month of Ramadan.
How will they eat?
There are many charities now working to feed the poor and indigent, but the usual modes of food distribution – through iftars held at mosques, for instance – will not be possible under the current circumstances. As we’ve already seen, every time food distribution trucks enter the isolation areas, crowds gather, creating the exact conditions for spreading the virus that the government is working so hard to prevent. So even when the food is ready for distribution, how can they get it to the people who need it safely? How can charities and even individual volunteers help?
The challenge is enormous, the numbers daunting.
This pandemic is proving to us all that we can come up with creative and innovative ways of solving problems. From homemade masks to USB-sized testing kits, from multi-user ventilators to co-op shopping appointment apps, we are quick to solve problems in a crisis because we have no choice.
Where there is a will – there will be an app providing the solution. Or if not an app, at least a new way of thinking. The gatherings for iftar will not be possible this Ramadan. But the spirit of iftar, of giving and caring for those less fortunate remains.
So here are some ideas that might help the distribution logistics:
Allow distribution trucks to travel and distribute per building. This has already been done for the buildings under quarantine, and then one person from each household (where there are families) can come down to receive the food, or if it’s a bachelors’ building, then one floor at a time. This may take longer and not be possible for every building every day, but if focused on the isolation areas where people cannot go out and work, then the distribution may be concentrated enough to work without further spreading the virus.