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Jakarta Post

Indonesian humanitarian group feeds homeless in Australia amid COVID-19 crisis

  • Budi Sutrisno

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, April 10, 2020   /   08:01 pm
Indonesian humanitarian group feeds homeless in Australia amid COVID-19 crisis Healthcare professionals direct a woman at a pop-up clinic testing for the coronavirus disease at Bondi Beach, after several outbreaks were recorded in the area, in Sydney, Australia, on April 1, 2020. (REUTERS/Loren Elliott)

The Australian branch of Jakarta-based Muslim philanthropic organization Dompet Dhuafa has launched an initiative to feed hundreds of homeless people in Australia.

Twenty-five Indonesian volunteers from the organization hit the streets of Sydney on Wednesday to give away 300 food packages to underprivileged citizens who are at high risk of falling into indigence and hunger.

“Enjoying the city’s atmosphere in a developed country often makes me think that everything here is going fine. However, poverty is still a challenge for many,” volunteer Ilma Fitsannisa Zette said in a media statement on Thursday.

Ilma, a student of the University of Technology Sydney, said the initiative made her more aware of others’ conditions in the time of crisis.

Read also: Cannes opens doors to homeless as virus spreads

Dompet Dhuafa Australia head Ali Zaenal said there were around 116,000 homeless people in Australia. The figure had increased about 13 percent in the past five years, according to a housing and population census from the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2016.

“They are very vulnerable, especially amid a health crisis of the COVID-19 outbreak. As fellow human beings, [members of] Dompet Dhuafa Australia took the initiative to show our support,” Ali said.

The Australian branch of the organization said the initiative would continue to run in the future with volunteers to hand out blankets to the homeless during winter.

The Australian Department of Health recorded 6,203 COVID-19 cases across the country with 53 deaths as of Friday afternoon. More than 338,000 tests have been conducted across Australia.