Barkaa details COVID outbreak “nightmare” in regional town of Wilcannia

In addition to a high proportion of COVID cases among the population, the small town is also experiencing a housing crisis and food insecurity

Rapper Barkaa has shared her concerns over the situation currently unfolding in the regional New South Wales town of Wilcannia, a predominantly Aboriginal area where ten per cent of the population has tested positive for COVID-19 since the Delta outbreak began in mid-June.

In addition to Wilcannia’s Delta outbreak, the town is also experiencing a housing crisis and food insecurity. Residents are finding it difficult to isolate at home due to the large number of people that sometimes live under the same roof.

Speaking to ABC’s The World Today, Barkaa, who grew up in Wilcannia, said the town “was a flourishing community once upon a time”.

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“Now mob are isolating in tents down on the river and stuff and sleeping out the front if they test positive. How are you supposed to isolate when there is so much overcrowding in the homes?”

More than half of Wilcannia’s population of roughly 600 have received their first vaccine dose, with between 25-30 per cent fully vaccinated. However, overcrowding and confusion among residents continue to exacerbate the town’s problems.

“As a Barkinji woman, this was my worst nightmare for it to ever hit my community, especially when we know the statistics and the early death rates of our mob due to colonial disease,” Barkaa said.

“It’s heartbreaking. I just hope my mob can get through this. It’s so scary it feels like a nightmare.”

Barkaa was recently announced as part of the BLAKSOUND First Nations music industry conference, which is being held virtually across three days in September.

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