While the novel coronavirus ravages across the globe, the poorest residents of Ciudad Bolívar continue with their battle against acute poverty, starvation and homelessness. The struggles get tougher as authorities continue to place unrelenting demands -- through a wave of evictions -- amid the pandemic, stripping the poor of the bare minimum: a quarantine with dignity, with food and a roof over their heads.

The nationwide quarantine has resulted in the loss of livelihoods among Bogota’s poorest residents, but that hasn’t stopped authorities from evicting the poor from their homes, which they say were unlawfully built.

“In the middle of a pandemic the authorities are breaking all protocols without a care for how it affects us,” said Don Pacho to a media outlet, as a pack of his 15 dogs barked around his dilapidated property that overlooks Colombia’s capital. “They’ve got us stigmatized, segregated, and forgotten,” Pacho added.

Police raids are common in Pacho’s neighborhood, where cops barge into properties, instruct residents that their homes are illegally built, and pressure them to evacuate the premises at the earliest.  In early May, when the virus was raging, authorities ordered him to leave, while partially destroying his house.

Things have reached a rather pitiable state, which has driven residents of Ciudad Bolívar and other rundown neighborhoods to the extreme: Red rags are often hung outside houses -- a sign that denotes an emergency call for help.

Needless to say, the poor are irked by the empty promises made by the government. Three million impoverished families were reportedly promised food and economic relief in early April. But, nothing really transpired, as residents in Ciudad Bolívar continue to face a life of penury.

On Sunday, city officials promised a compensatory amount of 250,000 COP ($67) for three months to those who became homeless owing to the eviction, but locals don’t choose to wait it out anymore. They believe everything that the government says is a lie and are on the lookout for ways to eradicate hunger -- irrespective of whatever it takes.

“People aren’t going to wait and watch their children starve to death,” said Wilder Téllez, a teacher in the neighborhood. “We need help now.”

coronavirus The documentary demonstrates Guangzhou's prevention and control work from January 22 to March 22, 2020. It is expected to share the Chinese city's experience with countries and people that are fighting COVID-19. Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash