Chinese migrant workers stranded in Guangzhou’s Covid-19 homeless crisis
Hundreds of migrant workers have been left homeless on the streets of Guangzhou in southern China, according to multiple sources in the city where the most severe Covid-19 outbreak of the pandemic has been raging for a month.
The workers – mostly from the central province of Hubei – have been released from Covid-19 quarantine centres, called fangcang hospitals, but cannot return to their homes in the urban villages of Guangzhou’s Haizhu district, epicentre of the latest outbreak.
Officials say the district is still in a severe epidemic situation and one government notice encouraged the workers to return to their home provinces, saying management of the outbreak will take a further month.
With nowhere to go, the migrants carry their backpacks as they look for temporary shelter under bridges, in underpasses or by the riverside near the urban villages, workers and community volunteers said.
Xiong Xiong, a restaurant owner from Hubei who has been living in Guangzhou for more than 10 years, is doing what he can to help after watching their plight from his establishment near the entrance to an urban village.
Rain was falling this week as temperatures plummeted and about 200 homeless migrant workers gathered outside. “Who would like to wander on the streets? They just have nowhere to go,” Xiong said.
He joined a volunteer group to put up tents and buy food and masks. He has also offered the workers use of the restaurant’s charging station and the staff bathrooms, where they can get warm showers.
“Our Hubei workers are discharged from the fangcang hospitals, shuttled back to the urban villages and dropped off at the main entrance,”