Coronavirus: Disability rights body demands cushion

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PEOPLE living with disabilities have lamented over marginalisation in national disasters, the Zim Morning Post has heard.

They submitted that in the current COVID-19 pandemic government has neglected the constituency.

Disability Rights Advocates chairperson Samantha Sibanda urged the Ministry of Health and Child Care to compile statistics of people with disabilities who have fell victim to COVID-19.

Her concerns follow precedence set during Cyclone Idai where the community of people living with disabilities were not catered for owing to the absence of documented statistics of the affected.

“You realise that during national disasters, people with disabilities are not being counted, so what I mean is how many people will die from the COVID 19, how many people have been tested and their status, “said Sibanda.

“From the previous national disasters, we have petitioned the Ministry of Health and Child Care to provide statistics of people with disabilities who were affected by the cyclone.

She cited that when President Mnangagwa announced the 21- day lockdown, most people living with disabilities failed to access food and basic commodities as a result of the stampede at retail outlets.

“When lockdown was announced, I remember it was on a Friday and the next Monday people were supposed to be at home, so we were given two days to prepare for the lockdown.

During the weekend there was a hive of activity and queues gave challenges to people with disabilities.

“I doubt that people with disabilities managed to prepare for the lockdown, “ said Sibanda.

“When the lockdown was enforced, the prices of goods started to rise, I remember a lemon in Mbare was going for ZWL1 and it was hiked to ZWL4.

“The majority of people living with disabilities are unemployed and mostly depend on vending with some in civil service. Life is hard for them;” she added.

Meanwhile, Zim Morning Post spoke to a disabled Harare man January Ruzvidzo who said his condition limits him to follow all the recommended prevention guidelines prescribed by government.

“My fear is that there are health measures that we learnt from the radios, but with my condition I am not able to follow all the instructions,” he lamented.

Government has pledged to disburse cash transfers to the needy in the period of the lockdown through the Ministry of Social Welfare.

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