Some vulnerable persons who reside under the Kanda Overpass have said they are starving in the wake of the lockdown due to their inability to go out onto the streets to earn a living and, therefore, appealing to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to come to their aid.
As part of measures to prevent further spread of Coronavirus, the government restricted movement in the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions as well as Kasoa effective Monday, 30 March 2020.
Ghana has so far recorded 214 cases of COVID-19, with 5 deaths and 3 recoveries.
Although the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social protection disclosed that it would feed female load carriers or kayayei and give them a daily stipend, street hawkers and itinerant cobblers, among others, who sleep under trees and some major bridges and overpasses as well as in front of shops in the city, were not captured in the government’s plan.
Among the homeless who sleep under the Kanda overpass is a man suffering from stroke.
Speaking in an interview with CTV and Accra 100.5FM’s Loveridge Anyionyam Okyere Ampratwum on Friday, 3 April 2020, a street hawker, James Mensah, said: “I come from Barekese in the Ashanti Region and sell in traffic; however, because of the lockdown, we can’t go out and sell on the streets, since Nana restricted movement. We have spent the little we have. It’s not easy to starve; we’re, therefore, appealing to the authorities to please bring us food. Anybody who can help us, we’re appealing to them to come to our aid. They should have mercy on us and remember those of us living under the Kanda overpass.”
Another vulnerable person, Nana Yaw Owusu Sarpong, stated: “We’re appealing to the authorities, we’re going through hard times here. We don’t have water to drink or food to eat. We’re under the Kanda overpass, that’s where we are morning, afternoon, evening. We’re starving. I used to clean the windscreens of cars in traffic around the National Theatre but sleep under the Kanda overpass. Because of the lockdown, the police will stop you if you attempt to go to work. We’re appealing to the government to come to our aid.”
A duster seller in traffic, Antwi, also added: “We have spent all we made in the wake of the lockdown. The government should come to our aid, else if we have the deadly virus, we can spread it more. They should come to our aid.”
Antwi also disclosed that although they heard that the authorities were distributing food at the Tema Station and went there, they were told that they did not fall under the category of persons being catered for by the government.
“They said they were acting under strict orders to only cater for the kayayei because they are the ones who are homeless and sleep on the streets and that people like us are not included but we want to remind the authorities that the kayayei are not the only ones who are homeless, we’re homeless, too.”