As public anxiety over the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak grows; so does our concern for people with intellectual disabilities worldwide.
It is well documented that people with disabilities are among the most vulnerable in crisis situations. Devastatingly, this fact has been exemplified by the case of Yan Cheng, a Chinese teenager with cerebral palsy who has died after his dad and brother were quarantined for coronavirus checks. He was left without food, drink or personal hygiene care for nearly a week. As we mourn Cheng’s life, we are confronted with the dangerous reality for everyone who requires personal assistance.
So far 900 deaths have been reported and over 40,000 cases identified. Most of the central Chinese province has been under virtual lockdown since the number of cases of this coronavirus, originating from the epicentre of Wuhan, rapidly rose last week.
Our member organisations in China are working hard to collect and share resources to support families of people with intellectual disabilities to survive the epidemic. Inclusion Beijing have also established the Emergency Assistance Network for Families with Disabilities during Epidemics, to share resources and provide psychological support.
We are collecting messages of solidarity to share with our Chinese member organisations to show them that their efforts are recognized and appreciated.
Together we can reduce the suffering of people with disabilities by demanding effective support during crises.