Coronavirus: 39 children stranded outside J&K return home

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JAMMU: At the time of despair and fear doing round all across the world due to Covid-19 scare, the District Child Protection Unit Kathua and Integrated Child Protection Services of Social Welfare Department J&K come up as saviours of children of Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir who got stuck in other states away from their homes and loved ones due to nationwide lockdown.

Coronavirus: 39 children stuck outside J&K return home

With each passing day of the homebound lockdown, the Deputy Commissioner Office Kathua registered an increasing number of distress calls from parents requesting for restoration/ repatriation of their wards stuck in various locations outside the union territory.

Acting swiftly on this unprecedented situation, Deputy Commissioner Kathua O.P Bhagat constituted a team headed by District Child Protection Officer Kathua, Abdul Raheem and members of DCPU alongwith Childline Kathua. The committee with the mandate of identifying the cases swung into action contacted and traced the Child Protection bodies of all those locations where children were stuck.

The team keep liaising with Lakhanpur Control Room authorities to ensure fulfilling of all the requisite formalities before the actual handing taking of the children, besides their proper medical examination at Lakhanpur followed by home quarantine.

The concerted efforts of team and with the firm resolve as many as 39 children are reunited with their parents and family. These comprise 28 natives of Kathua, 3 of Udhampur, 5 of Jammu and 3 of Samba district. All 41 rescued children were staying in different parts of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi NCR.

The idea was to safeguard the children as they are most vulnerable to the pandemic and depriving them from family care can lead to adverse affects on their mental health, Deputy Commissioner O.P Bhagat explained.

The major challenge was to undertake the task of restoration/repatriation in accordance with laid down SOPs and advisories issued by the government from time to time, DCPO Kathua Abdul Raheem informed.

The back to back extension of the lockdown and speculation that it might go for longer than expected has led to a lot of people especially parents of young kids feeling  helpless.

Explaining the reason of their apprehension, one of the parents of evacuated child said “The worst part was that we don’t even know when things will open up and how long it will take to resume normal traffic”.

The team of District Child Protection unit of Kathua is still continuing in their efforts but it has already created some beautiful moments by bringing smiles on the faces of these children and their parents who termed the team as ‘Saviours’.

The pandemic of Covid-19 may have spread ambiguity and insecurity among people but one must say that DCPU has taken this crisis as an opportunity to prove that relentless efforts when made in a coordinated manner,  can win over any tough situation.

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