Africa, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

COVID-19: Homeless struggle in Ghana lockdown

Beggers in Accra fighting police, lack of jobs, during restriction

19.04.2020
COVID-19: Homeless struggle in Ghana lockdown

ANKARA 

The homeless in Ghana have become begging alarms for survival amid a nationwide lockdown imposed because of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, according to a local report.

They have have lost their usual work of carrying shoppers goods or helping commercial drivers loading passengers.

The homeless, as well as street beggars in the capital of Accra, are suffering because of the lack of money and food as a result of the lockdown which has left streets semi empty.

They begg pedestrians and commuters in order to survive but preventive social distancing rules to avoid the deadly COVID-19 virus are not exercised.

They rush toward moving vehicles and take anything from anyone responding to their pleas, without gloves, masks or sanitizers which makes them and others more vulnerable to risk from the deadly virus, according to the Graphic Online local website.

“It’s not easy for us,” Shadrach Adjei told the website in the local dialect of pidgin, when asked why he does not comply with lockdown measures.

“We don’t have food to eat that’s why we come to beg,” he said.

“I have not eaten the whole day,” he said, pulling up his shirt to show the reporter his flattened stomach.

He said he heard about free meals distributed by government-affiliated vehicles for the homeless but was “beaten by the police,” when he arrived at the location.

Adjei said he carries shoppers goods to earn money but “now nobody is traveling so we don’t get anything to carry.”

“I stay with my younger sibling and I need to get something to feed him but I haven’t even eaten the whole day,” he told the Graphic.

Cynthia Morrison told the website that “police are just beating us and they take the food first before it gets to us and when we go for ours, they come to beat us.”

She hopes the government will help the homeless and others on the streets to return to their towns because there is nothing to do in Accra.

Elderly beggar Akosua Tawiah has six children and complained police are not giving those who live on the streets “their peace of mind.”

She suggested the government should do more to help. “They should bring us the raw ingredients instead of the cooked food and they should also add money to it," she said

Ghana’s has 834 cases of COVID-19 with nine deaths, according Saturday to U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

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