Amid COVID-19, Caritas Ghana Supports Old Fadama Squatters
Caritas Ghana, the Relief and Development Agency of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference has given a humanitarian support to 160 families made up of 630 people who were recently rendered homeless after their places of abode were demolished to pave way for the dredging of the Korle Lagoon.
Each displaced family received a token amount ranging between GHc100 to GHc200 at a ceremony held at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Derby Avenue in Accra. The total disbursement with support from Star Ghana Foundation was GHc20, 000.
Old Fadama is a slum area in Accra which has been renamed City of God by the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra to replace what is popularly known as Sodom and Gomorrah.
Prior to the demolition on April 15, 2020, fire swept through the slum destroying hundreds of structures leaving over 800 people homeless.
Pesenting the token to the beneficiarieswho are mainly head porters and Okada riders, Mr. Samuel Zan Akologo, the Executive Secretary of Caritas Ghana, said the donation is part of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference’s COVID-19 National Response Plan to the vulnerable.
Educating the beneficiaries on the objective of the plan, he said it was to contribute to the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing some basic needs *to the vulnerable as well as provide temporary shelters and homes in a lockdown situation.*
He stated that the plan was also to address the psycholigical and emotional needs of people and help provide authentic information about the pandemic together with the Ghana Health Service and the World Health Organisation.
Mr. Akologo mentioned that amid the pandemic, the Catholic Church had extended support to the community and others.
He however described the demolishing exercise by the Assembly as unfortunate and prayed government and other organisations would support their needs.
Mr. Akologo said “My wish is that these internally displaced persons from the recent demolitions in Old Fadama will eventually make the voluntary decision to return to their home communities.”
“The misery and indignity that these families now live (squatting) in Accra is just too painful to contemplate for any human being. Moreover, most of them have lost their jobs here in Accra due to the adverse impact of COVID-19,” he stated.
Adding, he said “I am happy that Caritas Ghana can accompany and resettle them in their respective home communities. This is an opportunity to retrain them in new skills for more decent jobs in the future.”
For his part, Fr. George Mensah, the Director of Caritas Accra admonished the beneficiaries, to make good use of the token presented to them and advised them to always ensure they wore face mask and practice social distancing to prevent them contracting the coronavirus.
Yussif Alhassan Antabayim, the leader of the victims of the demolition thanked Caritas Ghana and Star Ghana Foundation for the support which he said had brought joy to them in the midst of hardship due to the demolition.